Wednesday, July 14, 2021

The Pattern Behind Self-Deception

     After watching the Ted Talk, "The Pattern Behind Self-deception," presented by Michael Shermer, I have learned as humans we contain a belief engine in our brains. This belief engine allows us to connect the dots, example: A appears connected to B, and we are association learners. On the other hand, we as humans also have, "patternicity," as Shermer calls it. This patternicity allows us to sometimes believe a pattern is real when it is not, or not believing a pattern is real when it is. 

    Dopamine also plays a significant roll in the way our brains work as Shermer pointed out. If dopamine levels are too low,  we tend to not believe a pattern is real when it is (type two error). When it is just right, it can lead to a perfect amount of creativity in our brains. However when it is too high, we tend to see patterns everywhere, an example being when someone is looking at you, you think people are talking about you- this leads to madness. 

    Shermer goes through a multitude of photos which allow our pattern detectors in our brains to be fooled, or see patterns that simply aren't the reality of the photo. These illusions come from our temporal lobe. He concludes with the video of women testing lip gloss- thinking they are going to kiss men, but are actually kissing monkeys to conclude. It was very interesting to see some of the science behind why our minds create some patterns that exist when they really don't, and vise versa. I believe agenticity- the tendency to infuse patterns with things such as invisible beings is the reason we make connections that are not usually reality. 

    This was great to watch as I know myself and my crazy ability to create situations in my head that never really exist. Seeing some science behind why we react and act certain ways, was almost comforting. Here is a link to the Ted talk.


  1. Melinda,

    You did a excellent job at breaking down Shermer's Ted Talk. I also like the fact that you were able to apply his concepts to your own life. Thank you for your honesty in sharing how you can create situations in your mind that don't truly exist. I believe we are all guilty of this. You are one step ahead of many who cannot see this and continue to believe in false scenarios. Keep up the good work!

  2. Melinda I also found this TED talk to be truly captivating. You do an excellent job mentioning and breaking down the salient points including the "patternicity" which, prior to viewing this TED talk, I was unaware was even a thing. These key terms like "patternicity" and "agenticity" as well as Shermer's examples were mind opening in understanding why sometimes we make connections that are not even there. Excellent job using examples from the video to help explain this as well as putting a direct link to the video too. This was a great read!

  3. Hi Melinda, I think you did a good job simplifying Shermer's ted talk, "the Pattern behind self deception." I think what was most interesting to me from reading your post & viewing the ted talk itself is the fact that we as humans have this "belief engine" in our minds along with a term i've never heard before, "patternicity." Which Shermer described as "the tendency to find meaningful patterns in meaningless noise." i think you did a great job and was a very interesting watch/read. And I agree with your statement when you said seeing that there is a science behind why we act or think the way we do is somewhat "Comforting." And I say that because the mind is very complex and misunderstood.