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February 11, 2009

Pattern Matching

One of my University professors described the brains' functioning as pattern matching. Existing neural pathways are going to respond to patterns that have been experienced previously. Using existing pathways is easier than forming new ones. That description seems fitting to me and it often helps to explain how things work. It's why we jump to conclusions or make assumptions so easily. It also explains why some of those mind tricks work so well. It's also important to consider this when you want to convey information clearly. For example, if you are describing a limit, phrasing such as "not greater than X" or "never X or greater" could be used depending on the situation, each describes a different limit. The most natural response is to recognize the statements as limit orientated and assume X to be the limit applied in the most natural way. Normally that means phrasing such as "not greater than X" should be used as we are often talking about maximums.

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