How To Derail Your Train of Thought – or At Least Give It More Consideration

I was doing some research on sleep last night, and somehow I stumbled upon this beautiful infographic about cognitive biases. I love data that is laid out in attractive patterns that enhance understanding, and I’m always interested in how people think and perceive the world, so of course I clicked through.


Image via

Gorgeous, isn’t it? It was created by John Manoogian III from a list of cognitive biases compiled by Buster Benson from Wikipedia Users.

I had two immediate thoughts about this. First, I saw it as a tool that could give me a way to get to know my own biases a little better. While there are too many to be aware of all of them at once, I can at least apply some additional introspection to my decisions and thought processes. Just seeing the myriad ways I could be altering my perception is enough to remind me to take a little more time before I respond to something.

My second thought was that I’m home schooling, and while neither of the kids is taking psychology, this could also easily be applied to sociology, including current events, or to literary studies. After all, recognizing possible (or probable) biases in others and why they’re there helps us understand world events and relate to other people.

A trailing third thought was about how great it would look in my office, so I ordered the poster. It will go wonderfully with my language distribution and European language tree infographic posters. According to the article, it’s also been popular with psychology professionals and instructors.

It wasn’t until this morning that I realized this is a good reminder of how my characters think, too. It’s not always easy to push away from my own thought processes and embrace how other people might see things. This graphic is a reminder that I do have biases, and to try to understand how my characters’ biases might be different. It might help me give them more dimension.

This is a great example of a graphic that is visually engaging, informative, and thought-provoking. And, of course, just plain lovely.

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