The Interestingly, you won’t be able to find
The word patternicity was conceived when a science writer, Michael Shermer, described the human tendency to make meaningful connections between arbitrary events. Interestingly, you won’t be able to find this word in an ordinary dictionary; however, it can be better displayed in our everyday lives. The concept of patternicity is how we tend to draw conclusions from what we believe to be patterns.When these patterns are correct, we can make valuable predictions that aid in survival. However, often humans tend to find patterns in things that are purely coincidental, and that affects how they make judgments in the future. This also explains how humans can see or hear things that aren’t really there. The brain merely fabricates in attempt to make sense of the situation. One night, I decided to watch a scary movie with some of my friends. It freaked me out so much that most of the time I hid my face behind a blanket! When the movie ended, I was reluctant to make my way home because the sun had already set. My anxiety elevated with every street light I passed and I could feel my heartbeat inside of my chest. As I turned around to see if something was behind me there was a rustling in the bushes which pushed me over the edge. I ran the rest of the way in pure fear until I reached the safety of my doorstep. After I learned about patternicity, I realized it was purely a misjudgment. In my heightened state of anxiety, I made the conclusions that the rustling in the bushes was an extraterrestrial creature waiting to kill me (it might have been). But it’s also possible, and most likely, that the rustling in the bushes was nothing at all and just the wind moving the branches. If I break it down statistically, on a windy night during my 20-minute walk home the odds were very high that I would hear something. Patterns are the brain’s way of controlling the highly disordered world around us and can be an explanation for why some people believe in pseudoscience. But it is important to remember that these correlations cannot always infer causation. These misconceptions are common but it is better to assume a connection between two events than to not, especially if it is a concern about safety. For example, if you drank expired milk and felt sick afterwards, it may be safe to assume the milk caused the illness and you should then stay away from expired milk. Nevertheless, if you are often a victim to patternicity, weigh the probability of the two events occurring at the same time so you can make an educated prediction.