Information awareness – the unconscious choice

When searching for information, are you aware of your own bias? Are you aware of the mechanics inside yourself, that makes you like or dislike the information that you consume?

In our day and age, we are flooded with information. Because of this, we tend to speed up the decision making on whether we find it interesting or not. This starts as soon as we read the headline of an article, if it does not catch our attention, then we move on. The content could be a priceless treasure, written by a genius writer, that just so happened to be, a not so good marketeer – we would never read it.

If we are caught by the headline, and not in too much of a hurry, we may start reading. Whether we actually finish the article, in large part depends on the statements presented. A lot of times, the decision is based, not on the factual information nor correctness of the content, but more a subjective measuring, that determines if this piece, fits our current puzzle.

The puzzle we try to match this piece into, is our current beliefs. Does this piece actually help build the picture we already have begun constructing, or will the piece, being factual correct or not, shatter our beautiful image. The thought that the piece itself is correct, but does not fit because the puzzle we are trying to solve is incorrect, does not appear to us, or we are at the very least, not that inclined to draw this conclusion.

As a recent example, I was looking for a HIIT sprint protocol. There are an incredible amount of those available all over the internet, some are bad, but a whole lot of them are actually backed with more or less scientific testing. I just kept skipping almost every one of them, until I finally settled on one. But why did I settle for this specific protocol? Because I already had a picture in my head as to what it should look like. When someone confirmed my belief, I found my match. Not necessarily the objectively best, but a match, because deep inside I was not looking for the best, or the most effective. I was looking for confirmation of my current belief.

Now I am not advocating, that you should always challenge your beliefs, and go for something that does not fit your current puzzle or weigh every piece of information, to form your own little information-bureaucracy-monster. But being aware of the fact, that we tend to weigh information instinctively, makes us able to claim back the power of decision.

There are times for pieces of the puzzle that fit, and times where odd-shaped-pieces are your best bet. If you in any way, are trying to spark a creative process, I will suggest consuming a lot of odd-shaped-pieces, but that will be a topic of a later post.

For now, just try going through your day, with information awareness. If you really like or dislike some of the facts you encounter during your day, try to take a step back and observe why it sparked that reaction. Become a little more aware of your choices and reclaim control.

One response to “Information awareness – the unconscious choice”

  1. This is the kernel of the half-baked idea in most people’s heads when they blurt out that it’s good to keep an open mind. Most people will never become great with speaking or social skills, discouraged instead by the responses of the audience which has to deal with their undeveloped words.It is essential to good information from bad now that everyone wants to be heard, and to be efficient we must be prejudiced about accepting new sources. This isn’t necessarily the same thing as close-mindedness. Looking forward to what you have to say as a followup to this post.

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