Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Confusion: reality vs beliefs

When reality is different from our assumptions, beliefs, or expectations then we will get confused. A recent and excellent Aeon-Psyche article argues that Confusion is a symptom of learning. In my view, our confusion will either result in (internal) curiosity, a prerequisite for learning, or be ignored.

In “2003, the psychologists Paul Rozin and Adam Cohen asked college students to observe facial expressions and report on the ‘emotion’ being expressed, as well as the facial movements involved. To the researchers’ surprise, the most common descriptor reported by participants was confusion.” (Psyche)

The Psyche article highlights that our frowning is not “part of the set of ‘basic emotions’ recognised by psychologists, [although] one of the most ubiquitous emotional reactions reported by their participants.”

Indeed, my blogs on human emotions (ie, 2015, 2016 update), did not include a row for confusion (“emotion”) and frowning (facial expression).

Hence, my question: is confusion an emotion??

The Wiki definition for confusion argues that is not an emotion but a state of rational bewilderment.

I do wonder if confusion is losing from our beliefs, and our belief systems. Does this imply that we are ignoring reality? This thought is brand new and – frankly – also somewhat disturbing. Are we building our own reality, based upon our beliefs? Another word for this is perception (versus reality).

Below, please find a good explanation by neuroscientist Abhijit Naskar:

“Perception is all about assumption,
Our brain hasn’t evolved to observe reality.
Biases prevent the observation of biases, unless,
You are hellbent to expand across comfort and luxury.”

An excerpt from Old and New (the Sonnet) by Abhijit Naskar, neuroscientist and author

Last but not least, a very valid observation:

“If you’re not confused, you’re not paying attention.”

A quote by Tom Peters (b.1942) from his 1987 book Thriving on Chaos (eg, Amazon, BOL)

It Could Have Been Better (1972) by Joan Armatrading
artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-artist, Wiki-album+song

You could have made me laugh if you’d stayed
But you left
I was more confused than I was before you came
I was frightened

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.


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