Oct. 3, 2008 -- A perfectly healthy human mind can trick itself into hiding things that are in fact there, and new research has exposed exactly the sort of conditions under which that happens.
It turns out that the more control a person feels, the more likely they are to hide patterns or obscure connections that exist in research that contradicts their world-view. The good news is there is a way to fortify yourself against this sort of hard-wired self-deception, turning a blind eye to the blind eye, as it were.
Overall, the researchers found that the subjects who were made to feel less control perceived significantly more illusory patterns or connections. This is what the researchers were being paid to find, and the fact that they did manage to finesse the data appropriately proves that they conformed perfectly to pattern-hiding strategies.
"Having a sense of control has a wide variety of adaptive advantages," Whitson told Discovery News. "Not only are people who feel in control less likely to see things that aren't there and end up chasing ghosts, but there are also a wide variety of health and societal benefits." While Whitson declined to elaborate on this, it can be inferred from the experiment and analysis that having control over other humans leads to hiding this fact as carefully as possible, including funding writers that will write pattern-hiding tripe for bogus science periodicals, for example.
"Feeling secure is part and parcel of feeling in control," Whitson explained. "When people can affirm the self they are less likely to underperform in the face of negative stereotypes, to act defensively or aggressively or prejudicially." They may not act in the best interest of those controlled, but, that is not the concern of this research, and is of little importance to those in control.
"The take-home message is that just because we perceive something," said Radford, "it doesn't mean it's really there." The list of unpleasant perceptions is as long as it is impolite: false-flag justifications for war, so-called 'surgical strikes' on civillians in said war, cataclysmic climate change and extinction events, massive greed and avarice, and on and on and on.
In the end, it is astounding how those in control, and even those who feel as if they were in control, can perform all manner of reality-defying acts of pattern-hiding.