The Cognitive Process Of Patternicity - Deepstash

The Cognitive Process Of Patternicity

The crux of Shermer’s argument rests on two different cognitive processes, patternicity and agenticity. He introduces the concept of patternicity with a thought experiment that is certainly familiar to most researchers of evolved human behavior – “Imagine you are a hominid walking along the savanna of an African valley three million years ago”. Shermer goes on to emphasize the adaptive importance of recognizing threats in one’s immediate environment; “You hear a rustle in the grass. Is it the wind or is it a dangerous predator?”

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“An idea is something that won’t work unless you do.” - Thomas A. Edison

As a 'belief engine', the brain is always seeking to find meaning in the information that pours into it. Once it has constructed a belief, it rationalizes it with explanations, almost always after the event. The brain thus becomes invested in the beliefs, and reinforces them by looking for supporting evidence while blinding itself to anything contrary. Michael Shermer describes this process as “belief-dependent realism” — what we believe determines our reality, not the other way around.

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