Disney on Saturday! So long, cunts!

Cognitive Dissonance, Interior Dialogue

This follows on from the thread about Muppet's boss where a pretty innocuous reaction is seen as something more sinister by a third party. This has happened to me from time to time.

IMHO this happens because the person concerned has a mental model of you in their head which doesn't match the real you or at least your mental model of yourself. When you say or do something, no matter how blandly, they filter it though their own model of you and blend in all the *hostility that they think that you harbour toward them. They then 'experience' your reaction as though you were actually *hostile when you weren't.

To me, it's a symptom of a passive aggressive nature in the person getting you wrong. It also indicates that the person has interior dialogues with that mental model of you which just distort their impression more. I find it disturbing and strangely invasive that people presume to deal with their idea of what I am rather than me, but I guess it's a fact of life.

It explains a lot of wierd behaviour and people reacting in odd ways that are hard to understand. It's very different to the problem that many people in this industry have of not being able to empathise very well.

Have other people had this experience?

*for hostility, substitute anything you like: fear, lust, lurve, your willingness to lend money, etc.
Permalink WoodenTongue 
March 30th, 2005
You're probably right, WT, but he's still out of his freaking mind these past few days. There's no excuse for this sort of behavior toward employees.
Permalink muppet 
March 30th, 2005
That's pretty funny - when I was reading the other thread, I was considering posting "Of course, muppet, knowing you the way I do, if you said that to me I'd punch you in the face"

However, the reality of what you say is very true. What makes it worse is that it's also fed by human frailties - ego, perceived slights, perceived hubris, and so on.

Philo
Permalink Philo 
March 30th, 2005
I've sometimes had people act suddenly very strange towards me, and if it was someone who's relationship important (like a colleague), then I'd talk to them about it.

Usually it goes like this:

Me: "I'm sorry, but it seem like maybe there is some tension between us or maybe your angry at me. Did I do something wrong?"

Them: [a little sheepsih and apolegetic] "Sorry, I'm just under some stress lately...."

Or

Them: [a little angry] "It really pissed me off when in that meeting you went..." [story follows where I may have been rude or inconsiderate]

Me: "Sorry about that, I'm sometimes like a bull in a china shop, and I don't even hear the plates smashing around me...."

Sometimes it can get a little confrontational, but the dicussion continues amd it has always worked out that the tension gets better. I find just a little egoless talking goes a long long way toward resolving conflicts.

Of course you could instead just blather it all over some internet discussion board. That might help.
Permalink ronk! 
March 30th, 2005
Gee ronk, you're right, seeking advice from intelligent people outside your own little sphere, people who are not party to the situation and can offer more unbiased advice, that's really stupid.

You sure told me.
Permalink muppet 
March 30th, 2005
Just for your edification, I do have just that sort of conversation with co-workers who I know are reasonable and intelligent people. There would be no such resolution with this guy.
Permalink muppet 
March 30th, 2005
I think the term is "varelse".
Permalink Aaron F Stanton 
March 30th, 2005
Ohhh kill the Swarm, kill the Buggies.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
March 30th, 2005
I'm ambivalent about the movie. Could be cool, could be a catastrophe.

Interesting that it will be told from two points of view simultaneously.
Permalink Aaron F Stanton 
March 30th, 2005
What woodentongue says is probably true. But the fact that he doesn't believe he's susceptible to this perfectly normal human trait is fascinating.
Permalink MarkTAW 
March 30th, 2005
Mark -

Wha??? Me?!
Permalink muppet 
March 30th, 2005
Huh? I was talking about Woodentongue.
Permalink MarkTAW 
March 30th, 2005
I love tender crisp bacon cheddar ranch - the breasts they grown on trees and streams of bacon ranch dressing flow right up to your knees



Oh, did I say that out loud?
Permalink example 
March 30th, 2005
MarkTAW: "What woodentongue says is probably true. But the fact that he doesn't believe he's susceptible to this perfectly normal human trait is fascinating"

Kerching! Thanks for illustrating my point so perfectly :)

Come on, I didn't say that or even imply it. Stating an opinion doesn't imply that the originator thinks he or she is perfect does it? Of course, you've *assumed* that I think that I never behave in that way and your response is coloured by your interior model of me and not reality.

I'm quite sure that I share this 'normal human trait'. The better I know people, the more likely I am to do it and them to me. My wife and I do it all the time in good and bad ways. In a positive light, its useful to know someone's likely reactions. Try buying someone a present without a mental model of how they think and react. The point is if you know about it as a dynamic of human nature you can spot it (in both directions) and prevent it from ruining your life.

My point was that it is kind of insulting for someone to make a negative model of you, assume that it is perfectly accurate, argue with that model in their head and then wreak the consequences on the real you.
Permalink WoodenTongue 
March 31st, 2005
>>> Ohhh kill the Swarm, kill the Buggies.

That's buggers.

I just re-read the short story and although the novel version is excellent, the original is still just as good. Graff is the best, in any version.

>>> I'm ambivalent about the movie. Could be cool, could be a catastrophe.

It'll suck. Name any sci-fi novel that was decent to excellent that got made into an excellent movie. Well, ok, the first Lathe of Heaven was quite good, but that's about it.

What was this thread about? Oh, yeah, muppet probably brought it on himself...
Permalink Ward 
March 31st, 2005
This sentance:

"I find it disturbing and strangely invasive that people presume to deal with their idea of what I am rather than me, but I guess it's a fact of life."

1) Is written in the first person about people dealing with you.

2. Strongly implies that you believe people do it to you far more than you do it to them. Otherwise, why would it be disturbing & invasive, it would simply be the natural order of things. Things that we all do are perfectly natural, and therefore not invasive or disturbing.

3) Your mental model of other people includes them making mental models of you. Which, I believe you've just proven.

But lets let bygones be bygones. I do it to you, you do it to your wife, as long as we all use protection nobody will get hurt.
Permalink MarkTAW 
March 31st, 2005
The boss guy from The Office was on Jay Leno the other day. He said about his character "If you don't know this guy, then you are this guy." I've wanted to post that ever since I heard it. Now seems as good a time as any.

It's hilarious, I think, when people say "Why do people think I'm a jerk?"

Your mental model of yourself can be just as off as your mental model of any other person. Whenever someone reacts to me in a strange way, my reaction, like anyone else's is "WTF is wrong with them?" but if the same reaction happens often enough in my life, I wonder what it is about me that's causing other people to react to me this way.

For example, when working out a new bass part, I have a habit of talking to myself. Or at least, that's how it looks to others. I'm moving my lips, probably mouthing the notes I'm playing, but I'm completely unaware of it. The other members of the band think I've come up with some new lyrics for the song and ask me what they are and I have no clue what they're talking about.

I got into an argument with a friend of mine once. Then a short time later with a co worker. Then a short time later with another friend of mine. I realized it couldn't possibly be them, it had to be me. But at the time, it seemed 100% like they were wrong, otherwise I wouldn't have had those arguments.

I once read that we get to know ourselves in more or less the same way we get to know other people. If I just say this to someone, they think I have no idea what I'm talking about because "of course I know myself" but the truth is, if we really knew ourselves inside and out, none of the things I just described would happen. We'd know how we affect other people, what triggers us, and so on, but we constantly find other people pushing our buttons and not knowing why and having a hard time controlling ourselves (some of us more than others, and certainly in some situation more than others).

So when muppet said he had no expression on his face, and his voice was also completely blank, I have a hard time imagining him as a department store dummy with the voice of HAL stating things completely matter of factly, and I wonder if there was some gesture, some inflection that he himself wasn't aware of (how could you be, you're the only person you never actually observe interacting with anyone) that may have triggered the other person, who, as WoodenTongue implies, already had some pre conceived notion of what muppet could have meant by whatever gesture it may have been that set him off.
Permalink MarkTAW 
March 31st, 2005
I sub-vocalise and move my lips when deeply thinking about something and at the same time in conversation with others about something else entirely. It may only be noticed by my family since that's the most likely time it will happen but if others notice it I might just be thought a complete nutter.

Actually there's probably a whole raft of other reasons why people might think that of me.

And yes, I remembered after it was Buggers and I haven't seen Lathe of Heaven so I'd best go stick it in my rental queue.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
March 31st, 2005
What's the Lathe of Heaven? I googled it and it looks like some sort of TV show thingy. Is it related to Ender's Game somehow?
Permalink MarkTAW 
March 31st, 2005
Ah, nevermind, Amazon told me all I need to know.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00004U8P6

An Ender's Game movie * could be ok (anything could be ok...), but too much of the book happened inside the mind of Ender to really be exposed properly through dialogue.

* http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0400403/
Permalink MarkTAW 
March 31st, 2005
"This sentance: ... blah blah ...
1) Is written in the first person about people dealing with you."

Of course it is, why would I write it any other way.

"2. Strongly implies that you believe people do it to you far more than you do it to them..."

No it doesn't. The fact that I recognise that behaviour strongly implies that I try and correct it if I see it. Anything else would be profoundly cynical, lazy and hypocritical. That doesn't mean that I catch myself every time. As it happens I do think I'm better than many people I know at dealing with the real person and not some abstract stereotype but I don't think I'm perfect in that respect.

Anyway... wrt Ender's Game

Apparently Orson Scott Card had a hard time with the film companies who wanted to make Ender too old. He's supposed to be a kid and they said 'no way, he has to be a teen to get teen buyin to the film.'. I also suspect that they would change the ending for a mass audience to something more triumphalist.
Permalink WoodenTongue 
March 31st, 2005
As far as I'm concerned, they can cut the entire ending. Orson Scott Card re-worked the short story as an intro to Speaker for the Dead, so all the stuff after heleft the station didn't really need to be there.

There was another book written from the prespective of the kid... I forget his name, the Ender protege. If the build up his character a bit, the ending can be seen from his perspective (audience identification) rather than Ender's to be technically true to the original, but give it a nice Hollywood ending.
Permalink MarkTAW 
March 31st, 2005
> "2. Strongly implies that you believe people do it to you
> far more than you do it to them..."
>
> No it doesn't.
> (snip)
> As it happens I do think I'm better than...

Ahem. Speaking of cognitive dissonance...
Permalink MarkTAW 
March 31st, 2005
"he has to be a teen to get teen buyin to the film"

So... this is going to be a "teen" movie with all the stereotypes Hollywood believes should be in a teen movie? I really hope that doesn't happen.

Spykids 3: Ender's Game.

OUCH.
Permalink MarkTAW 
March 31st, 2005
"
>> (snip)
>> As it happens I do think I'm better than...

>Ahem. Speaking of cognitive dissonance... "

Of course in a very abstract medium (like a discussion group) you can cut people to fit whatever impression you want to give of them if you stoop to disengenuous editing. You illustrate my point very well, thanks for that.
Permalink WoodenTongue 
March 31st, 2005
I realized a while ago that this conversation would devolve into a flame war and that there's absolutely no reason to continue this conversation except to satisfy our own egos, and perhaps entertain those around us.

Something along the lines of:

1. Pseudo-factual obesvation mixed with personal attack.

2. Pseudo-factual counter observation mixed with personal attack.

3. Need to retort to correct psuedo-fact (with another pseudo-fact), and while we're at it, throw in a bit of personal attack.

All the more salient and ironic due to the fact that the discussion itself is about perception & misperception of reality and other people.

There's really no end to the cycle, neither of us will concede. Let's just agree to disagree and call it a day.

I'm not sure how you'll take this, but given the nature of the discussion, I think you'd enjoy the book Games People Play by Eric Berne.
Permalink MarkTAW 
March 31st, 2005
> "he has to be a teen to get teen buyin to the film"

Because otherwise the movie is about how this 6-year-old is a better fighter than any older person: a better strategist, a better leader, better at sacrificing pawns, and a more thorough killer ... and better, not only because he's faster and more plastic, but because (as a young child taken from home) he's more vulnerable and therefore more extreme in his behaviour ... and about the adults who engineer that situation and his training ... and about his interactions with less extraordinary kids.

> too much of the book happened inside the mind of Ender to really be exposed properly through dialogue

I suppose a film could use subtitles to expose interior monologs to an audience [that would be geeky though ... I know people who watch movies who don't like to read].
Permalink Christopher Wells 
March 31st, 2005
Maybe he could pull it off. Many of the pivotal scenes are fight scenes (how many of us will be disappointed when the training room scenes aren't exactly as we pictured them?), which is good for a movie, but what makes them pivotal is his reasoning for the actions he takes.

He sort of pulled this of in Troy "I won't fight unless it's for greater glory," but it wasn't exactly subtle. As I said in the other thread, this guy could probably pull it off as well as any other director out there, and better than most.
Permalink MarkTAW 
March 31st, 2005
+++I got into an argument with a friend of mine once. Then a short time later with a co worker. Then a short time later with another friend of mine. I realized it couldn't possibly be them, it had to be me. But at the time, it seemed 100% like they were wrong, otherwise I wouldn't have had those arguments.+++

This is nonsense. Yes it's likely that you were having a bad day and being irritable, and it's also possible that all 3 of them were having simultaneous bad days and not you.
Permalink muppet 
March 31st, 2005
MarkTAW, I don't see any inconsistencies in WoodenTongues posts (in this thread anyway). His words seenm to have been chosen very carefully.

He seems to be stating:
He thinks he sees the behaviour in others.
He recognizes the behaviour in his self.
He believes he does it less than most people he's around.

WoodenTongue, MarkTAW seems to be pointing out that you can't hold the position that a person "make's up" what's going on in other's heads without doing the exact same thing yourself. Otherwise you couldn't hold a position about what's going on in other persons head. (well, it's possible that other people tells you they are thinking).


But, I think it is possible to _think_ that someone is doing it, wthout being guilty yourself. The difference is that you can't _believe_ it, you need to understand that its just one possible thing going on in the persons head, you may be completely wrong. Your actions may even reflect your view of the person, but as long as you are aware that it's just a hypothesis that may turn out to be wrong then you are not guilty really guilty of the same behaviour.
Permalink ronk! 
March 31st, 2005
Ronk is just upset I called an end to the flame war.
Permalink MarkTAW 
March 31st, 2005
"WoodenTongue, MarkTAW seems to be pointing out that you can't hold the position that a person "make's up" what's going on in other's heads without doing the exact same thing yourself."

True to a point, and if you talk to the person concerned when you get into this situation, you may find out that they do have incorrect ideas/models of you. You may well find that you have wrong ideas about them. By talking, you can got those things out in the open and then you have the opportunity to fix them.
Permalink WoodenTongue 
March 31st, 2005
And then there's the possiblity that the person with the issue is just batshit crazy and attempting to talk to him about it will only make it worse.
Permalink muppet 
March 31st, 2005
I find listening is better than talking in discovering what someone else thinks.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
March 31st, 2005
"I realized a while ago that this conversation would devolve into a flame war. . ."

Hmm. I wonder why?

" . . .to satisfy our own egos . . ."

Yep, I can see how that works for you. Personally, I was trying to gain insight and share experience.

" . . .perhaps to entertain . . ."

Happy to play along.

"1. Pseudo-factual obesvation mixed with personal attack."

Referee! What personal attack is there in the OP? That's below the belt.

"I'm not sure how you'll take this, but given the nature of the discussion, I think you'd enjoy the book Games People Play by Eric Berne."

Very subtle.

I read that a long time ago. It's a fascinating insight. We could have a whole thread about that. Those games are about deliberately misdirecting the thoughts and feelings of others in order to manipulate them into a position that they wouldn't otherwise take, or conflict, or a position of weakness, or even putting the initiator into a position of subservience when they want responsibility taken away.
Permalink WoodenTongue 
March 31st, 2005
Sorry Simon you are quite right. Listening to rather than talking to, but I guess I meant communicate generally.

The power of words, eh.
Permalink WoodenTongue 
March 31st, 2005
I recommended it because it was about interpersonal relationships, perceptions of reality, and it seemed like we were playing one here. It's not about one person manipulating another, but about how people will agree to manipulate each other towards a mutually satisfactory payoff.

"Pastimes occur in social and temporal matrices of varying degrees of complexity, and hence vary in complexity. However, if we use the transaction as a unit of social intercourse, we can dissect out of appropriate situations an entity which may be called a simple pastime. This may be defined as a series of semiritualistic, simple, complementary transactions arranged around a single field of material, whose primary object is to structure an interval of time. The beginning and end of the interval are typically signaled by procedures or rituals. The transactions are adaptively programed so that each party will obtain the maximum gains or advantages during the interval. The better his adaptation, the more he will get out of it."

- Eric Berne, Games People Play, page 41.

"A game is an ongoing series of complimentary ulterior transactions progressing to a well-defined, predictable outcome."

- p 48.
Permalink MarkTAW 
March 31st, 2005
"Referee! What personal attack is there in the OP? That's below the belt."

I never said their was, the original attack came from me.
Permalink MarkTAW 
March 31st, 2005
"...how this 6-year-old is a better fighter..."

Actually, when Ender beats the Buggers he's 12. True, he was pretty vicious throughout all of battle school etc., but that's his grand finale. You know what? I'd buy the idea of a genius 12 year old who'd just had 6 years of the best military training they can come up with being able to soundly kick the ass of any adult, especially if you're not talking hand-to-hand, but strategy, tactics, and fast-twitch reflex.
Permalink Aaron F Stanton 
March 31st, 2005
Well, if we're talking about the real world here, then, I agree a military Bobby Fisher could do that, but the idea that the military would actually seek him out as the last hope for humanity is where it gets tenuous.

But, it's a story, and there's a certain suspension of disbelief. In that world, that version of Earth, something allows and leads us to believe that children can be trained far better than adults.

There is some precident for this in the conspiracy theory literature. I saw it on Alias too so it's trickled into the mainstream. It's also commonly accepted that children learn languages and other things faster than adults, so it's not too much of a leap.

But the idea that he would be a better candidate than Mazer Rackham, and that Mazer Rackham never actually trained him, but just tricked him into thinking they were fighting...

Anyway, I think the twist ending was fine in the book. The person who read the short story first couldn't read the book without knowing the twist so his view of the book was obviously somewhat colored by having read the story.
Permalink MarkTAW 
March 31st, 2005
Y'all're selective quoting amateurs! :P

Simon: " I ... is better than ... someone else ..."
Permalink Mat Hall 
April 1st, 2005
Which just goes to show that the truth shines through no matter how dirty the lens used to see it.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
April 1st, 2005

This topic was orginally posted to the off-topic forum of the
Joel on Software discussion board.

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