Preconceptions or misconceptions? Influencing or insighting?

It is part of human instinct to want to put people in a box whether it’s according to political opinions, religion, culture, origins etc.

However these boxes are too often organised according to preconceptions that have been given to us through either the media or our entourage. Or even worse conclusions that have been made and resulted in misconceptions.

We base everything on what we know and if we don’t know for ourselves we’ll base it things that we have heard.

When visiting a country or meeting a person who is different to us, however hard we try and however open-minded we think we are, we have those preconceptions.


When it comes to categorising people, we are all closer to some ideologies than others of course but we can’t agree with everything one “category” says.


Democracy is what today’s world is advocating but as Winston Churchill wisely said “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

Everyone is commending freedom of choice, expression and thought. However when one has a huge range of choices it is only human to not know what to decide. The human brain just needs a bit of help to be driven down the right path. No one knows everything about everything. So when you don’t have any knowledge about something you have to make a decision about maybe a bit of advice is what you need. Everyone likes having other people’s opinions.

So maybe categorising things isn’t such a bad thing, it just helps you make decisions easier. Nevertheless it is not to be abused. One has to have a certain freedom. Humans like to conform. If we take the Asch experience for instance people find it easier to go with a group than argue and go against it.

Biases can creep in when similarity and frequency diverge.

When one thinks of a basketball player you think tall, black man not a small white person. It is not being racist or stereotyping the players it is just being realistic as according to a recent survey by the National Basketball Association, 80 % of basketball players are black. Too many people today get offended by terms. Mostly they are only words to state evidence.


Polly Hodgkins

Comments are closed.