Your Theory Determines What You Deserve
Six cards have been dealt face down on the table below. Turn the cards over. Mentally pick one card and memorize it, but be careful … do not indicate your card with your finger or mouse! Just relax and visualize your card. Then shuffle and re-deal the cards face up. What happened?
WHAT HAPPENED: You were so focused on your card that you ignored the remaining cards. By replacing the cards with other similar cards, I fooled you into thinking that I somehow read your mind and removed your card.
EXPLANATION: Your theory determines what you observe. With the cards, your concentration on your card prevented you from seeing the other cards. You looked only for your card and were unable to notice that all the other cards had changed. It is the same in life. If you believe you are creative, you will see evidence of your creativity everywhere. Likewise, if you feel you are not creative, then you will find evidence of that everywhere.
In this example, you are to identify a very briefly displayed card. Click on the card below when you are ready to proceed.
What did you just see?
WHAT HAPPENED: If you were fooled again, then this is another example of you seeing only that which confirms your theory. In this case, you believe you know cards. You unconsciously forced what you saw to conform to your image of a known card, thereby confirming your theory.
EXPLANATION: Numerous psychological experiments confirm this pattern of thinking. Psychologist Elizabeth Loftus, a University of California professor, helped explain why so many people in Washington, DC, said they saw a white van near the scene of the infamous sniper shootings in October, ’02. One person reported seeing a white van near one of the crime scenes. The chief of police, in response to a question, acknowledged a theory that the killers were driving a white van. His public acceptance of the theory made him appear certain a white van was involved, and because he mentioned no other theories, people suddenly began looking for a white van and seeing white vans everywhere.
In fact, the snipers used a dark colored Chevrolet Caprice automobile and no white van was involved. This "theory of a white van" allowed the killers to come and go as they wished. Always, witnesses were saying they saw a white van in the vicinity of the crime scene. The killers drove around murder scenes without a worry in the world. In fact, they were stopped three times by police for various reasons during the killing spree, and they were released because, like everyone else, the police were convinced the killer was driving a white van, not a dark colored Caprice.