Tuesday, June 28, 2011

If I Didn't Jump to Conclusions, I Wouldn't Get Any Exercise ...

I've been pondering why my students neglect checking the simple possiblities when their programs stop working. They always seem to jump to the possibilities that are more elaborate and therefore less likely. I was pondering this when I had my own jump to big stuff moment *cue transistional wind chime back-in-time music*

I was driving in my vintage '98 Grand Am (I know jealous), when I heard a clunking sound from the back. So I turned off the radio to listen more closely, at which point I became distracted by my own deep thoughts. About 5 minutes later I realized I didn't have any music which made me distraught. So, I immediately starting playing with my radio assuming that it had died. I tweaked the volume, changed the station, changed to AM and back to FM (I know I still listen to the radio), and was about to bemoan the death of my radio when I recalled turning it off. With a sheepish triumph I pushed the ON button and was graced with soft melodies.

So, it would appear that jumping to the worst possible conclusions is something I am guilty of too. I am sure this is an identified bias that humans suffer from but can't for the life of me remember which one it is. Luckily the first step to absolving a problem is recognizing you have one (even if you can't remember the name of it, which I guess is another problem ...)

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