Thread: Syncronicity, Frequent Coincidence and Cognitive Bias?

1. Syncronicity, Frequent Coincidence and Cognitive Bias?

Jung called it synchronicity (spelling), CS Lewis called it frequent coincidences (to be precise he stated he did not believe in frequent coincidences) but modern rational or cognitive psychology would call it "cognitive bias" or "confirmation bias", ie importing content or meanings into things or employing a biased attributional or explanatory style.

What do you think? I know I experience this, I suppose the description of what it is will depend on your first principles or original premises.

2. Yes, coincidences happen and people attribute meaning to them.

3. Statistics and Synchronicity

Originally Posted by Lark
Jung called it synchronicity (spelling), CS Lewis called it frequent coincidences (to be precise he stated he did not believe in frequent coincidences) but modern rational or cognitive psychology would call it "cognitive bias" or "confirmation bias", ie importing content or meanings into things or employing a biased attributional or explanatory style.

What do you think? I know I experience this, I suppose the description of what it is will depend on your first principles or original premises.
The cure for these New Age beliefs is Statistics.

The problem is that Statistics is counter-intuitive, so unless we have been trained in Statistics, we will follow our intuition, just as Jung did, into synchronicity.

Statistics is one of our most important Disciplines, for Statistics has given us our most accurate description of the world to ten decimal places. And we call this description, Quantum Mechanics.

But just as Statistics is counter-intuitive, so is Quantum Mechanics.

So it is only natural that the lazy, the gullible and the ignorant will prefer synchronicity to Statistics.

4. Well, what's the actual question here? We have discussed confirmation bias in detail already on this site a number of times, and now you're asking whether it exists (?) at all. I'm not sure if that is your question or not, but what more do you want besides a yes or no?

5. Maybe you should read Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead. Just because the coin lands on heads every single time it doesn't mean that it points to some hidden truth or deeper meaning.

Yes weird things do happen. You may have deja vu, time travel may be real. Donnie Darko could be right. The government could be tapping your phones but probably not.

My point is that there's not much point in ruminating over this stuff. Whenever it happens to me I just smirk and laugh silently to myself. I may even make weird noises to throw off the CIA. You can never be too careful.

6. People who ignore coincidences miss opportunities.
at least in my life.. since I have been more open to the idea, better things have been happening. Coincidence?

7. Originally Posted by Victor
The cure for these New Age beliefs is Statistics.

The problem is that Statistics is counter-intuitive, so unless we have been trained in Statistics, we will follow our intuition, just as Jung did, into synchronicity.

Statistics is one of our most important Disciplines, for Statistics has given us our most accurate description of the world to ten decimal places. And we call this description, Quantum Mechanics.

But just as Statistics is counter-intuitive, so is Quantum Mechanics.

So it is only natural that the lazy, the gullible and the ignorant will prefer synchronicity to Statistics.
With all due respect Victor, many research projects suffer from confirmation bias in the development of hypotheses and the research criteria, thereby affecting the statistics they gather.

8. Originally Posted by InsatiableCuriosity
With all due respect Victor, many research projects suffer from confirmation bias in the development of hypotheses and the research criteria, thereby affecting the statistics they gather.
True... but I think the point was just that our best hope for calibration is still to collect data even though it will likely be flawed on SOME level. The more data you collect, the more chance you have to challenge confirmation bias. (At least, if that is a goal.)

9. Originally Posted by Victor
The cure for these New Age beliefs is Statistics.

The problem is that Statistics is counter-intuitive, so unless we have been trained in Statistics, we will follow our intuition, just as Jung did, into synchronicity.

Statistics is one of our most important Disciplines, for Statistics has given us our most accurate description of the world to ten decimal places. And we call this description, Quantum Mechanics.

But just as Statistics is counter-intuitive, so is Quantum Mechanics.

So it is only natural that the lazy, the gullible and the ignorant will prefer synchronicity to Statistics.
Jung did not believe synchronicity in the sense that it was a law of the empirical universe. He coined the term to describe how people follow their intuition into thinking that acausal events are not simply coincidental, but related in a meaningful way. It is a true principle because our minds undeniably do this on a regular basis. Synchronicity isn't even supposed to compete with statistics or causality; it's a descriptor for a cognitive phenomenon. The only way to "cure" this phenomenon is by killing yourself.

10. Originally Posted by Jennifer
True... but I think the point was just that our best hope for calibration is still to collect data even though it will likely be flawed on SOME level. The more data you collect, the more chance you have to challenge confirmation bias. (At least, if that is a goal.)
I think the confirmation bias in some research is that, whether deliberately or accidental, the WRONG data is collected, or is collected in a manner or using an inappropriate sample, that won't provide unbiased results? How frequently do our scientists discover something other than what they are looking for?

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