Framing a debate

It’s quite difficult to describe the way people can completely distort a topic by framing a debate. Just because I can explain it, it doesn’t mean you can understand it. Basically people can leave out certain parts of a discussion, because it doesn’t support the point they are tying to make, or their general overarching beliefs. Often it is deliberate, but sometimes an incorrect belief occurs because certain facts or observation are simply not known and the lack of information has framed the observation. Example, if a space alien landed on earth on an Australian beach in the summer, that alien might think people always wear beach wear, because its always hot. That alien might think everyone speaks English, wears rubber sandals, drinks beer. Of course the aliens observations are framed  by only seeing part of the picture. Of course we could also deliberately frame the observation and show the alien our science institutions to make the alien think we are smart.

Even really smart people can draw the wrong conclusions from a framed observation or debate. Its easier to explain with some pictures.

Some Australian trees with a reflection in water.

Some Australian trees with a reflection in water.

 

framing2

Something is going wrong here, I’m sure you have noticed the right side of the picture.

This is the same picture with just a little more added to the frame, suddenly your mind starts doing all kind of back flips trying to explain to itself what is wrong here  and what piece should be ignored or is perhaps some sort of trickery. The problem is you have been caught by the cognitive dissonance of your optical perception. Your visual processing wants to chop certain parts of the picture out because they fly in the face of a fundamental assumption, gravity. As you are struggling with this other piece start to seem out of place that you discounted before at being too trivial to worry about. Finally you realize you were tricked from the beginning, because you made an incorrect assumption from the beginning. Your world was literally upside down.

Back to normal, you were shown the world upside down and you almost believed it.

Back to normal, you were shown the world upside down and you almost believed it.

This is how powerful framing is in debates and information in general. You can be made to believe things fundamentally opposite to the truth and be quite certain of them, if you consider only some of the available information. So what trickery did I use to make those pictures? Just the cropping tool and a vertical flip of the picture. I could have done it with a few printed photos, a razor blade and ruler, a computer was not required and neither was anything complex.

 

Remember what just happened in your head and how it happened,

you are probably being fooled like this about a lot of things.

Posted on February 25, 2015, in Cognitive Dissonance, Education, Meme, Psychology, WTF and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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