I recently completed a course in Social Psychology and amongst the many interesting things I learned, one came to mind today: the Self-serving Bias. To put it simply, the theory of self-serving bias implies that once we hold a certain belief, we will look for evidence to prove that belief rather than seek to disprove it. Isn’t that natural, you might think? Well, yes, it is, but it can lead to problems when left unchecked. We may at times hold certain negative beliefs that might later cause us problems, change our relationships, or affect others. Thus, social psychologists simply suggest that when it comes to certain beliefs, say for example, you’re introduced to someone new and you are led to somehow believe this person is boring, it would be better to look for interesting aspects of this person’s personality rather than dismiss them as someone you’re not interested in. You might just end up making a new friend, rather than shrugging someone off based on an unfound belief. After being made aware of the self-serving bias, I regularly try to question my judgements. This has turned out to be a useful exercise, however, sometimes I’ve found myself explicitly searching too hard for disproving evidence. This happened recently in the case of some friends that I had side-lined from my life. I was left wondering if I had made the wrong decision, if what I had believed about their behaviour was too harsh a judgement. I could think of many arguments against my decision to keep them aside, but I realised that I could find even more arguments in favour of my decision. I looked to the friends I had kept, and it was so easy to see that I had made the right choice. So, I’m glad I took the time out to question my beliefs, it showed me that what I had done was in fact the right thing to do, and wiped out all doubt from my mind.
If you are reading this and were not aware of the self-serving bias earlier, I hope you’ll try to keep it mind now on. It could help you save a friendship, or help you get past one.
WARNING: This post contains MAJOR SPOILERS about Downton Abbey Season 3 Episode 4.
I just watched the latest episode of Downton Abbey and I find myself saying “Oh my god!” over and over again! What just happened there?! In case you haven’t watched the episode, please stop reading now! For those of you who have watched it, blimey, eh?! What are they doing to Anna’s plot line? That whole storyline seems like the writers are clutching at straws to get the ratings on an up. The whole thing was so out of character for Downton, and so was Anna’s reaction, “Nobody else must ever know”. Really? I just don’t think Anna would react like that! Even if she wanted to protect Bates from prison, she’d tell Mr Carson or someone. She’d see to it that justice was done and not just meekly bow to this outrageous act. For the first time since I’ve been watching the show did the words “Soap Opera” come to mind (some of you will think it past time). Sheesh!
Also, what’s with Branson’s story? His whole “I don’t belong here” thing is done to death. There are so many ways in which his character could grow. His developing relationship with Mary was so brilliant in the first two episodes! They both know what it’s like to lose a significant other, and they were bonding over it, and he was helping her along so nicely. Now out of the blue, we’re back to him not belonging and that evil, wretched lady’s maid chasing after him. Ugh.
This episode was really extremely frustrating. The Anna storyline being the most misguided nonsense they could write! The only saving grace were, perhaps, Mary’s development to actually smiling, and Edith’s boyfriend’s getting along with Lord Grantham.
I really love this show and even when everyone was dissing on it, I’ve been a strong supporter but honestly, if I give up in a few episodes times, it’ll be because of Anna’s plot development.
Feel free to disagree with my rant and comment!
The Doctor and Donna
These two together are just so much joy! Two best friends on an adventure, what more could you want?