A shorter post this week about assumptions, and why it's useful not to take anything for granted.
I've been getting really into podcasts recently. I've had it as a resolution for a while, and I love the way a lot of them are bringing back the "old-fashioned" concept of the radio drama (listen to Forest 404 or The Case of Charles Dexter Ward to see what I mean, especially if you like thinking about how we can take care of our environment more, or enjoy spooky mysteries). One of the podcasts I've been listening to is called You're Wrong About, and it's brilliant for so many reasons.
The fantastic thing about You're Wrong About is that it takes things that people believe that they know all about and de-constructs them, giving a different slant on topics and really making you question your own assumptions about them. As a psychologist, I particularly liked their episode about Kitty Genovese (anyone who studied A level psychology will remember her from learning about the 'bystander effect') and how almost everything we're taught about that case isn't actually based on what happened at all.
I think it's a good idea to challenge your assumptions on a regular basis. This can be as simple as eating something you think you don't like but haven't tried for years (turns out I actually quite like beetroot, who knew?!) or it can be something that changes your beliefs or politics (how much money do we actually lose to 'benefit fraud'? Is 'health tourism' a huge problem? How are you going to know unless you check the facts from an unbiased website?)
It's tempting to ignore anything that doesn't fit with your view of a particular subject - that's one of many ways our brain tries to protect our world view and convince us that we're always right. But part of being human involves growth and change, and you can't do that until you acknowledge that there might be things you're wrong about. Have a think about what they might be today!
Dr Sarah Blackshaw: Clinical Psychologist, blogger, tea drinker, interested in dinosaurs and shiny objects