Mind: Section 3

Discussion Questions: Week 4 (October 20)

1. Contradictory behavior or contradictory evidence? (Red)

  • Is there a conflict between the widespread and systematic failure of individuals to make allowlance for egocentric construal (illustrated by the many examples discussed in the Griffin and Ross article) and the apparently clear case of accomodating another individual's viewpoint or assumptions in the leading questions experiments?
  • If yes, what does this imply about the conclusions of either or both of the articles; if no, how can this apparent conflict be resolved?

2. Can you change your mind? (Blue)

  • One of the central conclusions of the Griffin and Ross article is that once construals are fixed, they are difficult if not impossible to modify, even in the face of evidence showing that they are based on incomplete, incorrect or subjective information. Why? Why is it so hard to change your (or someone else's) mind?
  • What does this imply about the nature of construal? In particular, does it imply that construal is a completely unconscious, rule-govered feature of the mind, or is there room for uncertainty and indeterminacy in the outcome?

3. Dealing with ambiguity (Green)

  • Ambiguity and indeterminacy are inherent features of most of the information we take in (the tapping of a song, footage or descriptions of an event, etc.), and yet the bulk of the evidence seems to indicate that we are particularly bad at recognizing this and taking it into account (or are simply unable to do so) when we make judgments about what a stimulus means (e.g., whether it is biased in one direction or another) or what others think it means (e.g., what song a bunch of taps are supposed to correspond to). Why? Why do we systematically fail to recognize ambiguity and its implications for the 'correctness' of our judgments, and what does this imply about the way the mind works?