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Old 03-27-2011, 09:12 PM   #76
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To interpret the events as communicative messages, as being about their choice on the guessing game, demands a sort of third-person perspective of the self’s actions: "What must this other entity, who is watching my behavior, think is happening inside my head?" The Princess Alice findings are important because they tell us that, before the age of seven, children’s minds aren’t quite cognitively ripe enough to allow them to be superstitious thinkers. The inner lives of slightly older children, by contrast, are drenched in symbolic meaning.

...This sign-reading tendency has a distinct and clear relationship with morality. When it comes to unexpected heartache and tragedy, our appetite for unraveling the meaning of these ambiguous "messages" can become ravenous. Misfortunes appear cryptic, symbolic; they seem clearly to be about our behaviors. Our minds restlessly gather up bits of the past as if they were important clues to what just happened. And no stone goes unturned. Nothing is too mundane or trivial; anything to settle our peripatetic thoughts from arriving at the unthinkable truth that there is no answer because there is no riddle, that life is life and that is that.
Would have been interesting to see corresponding experiments with teenagers and adults to watch how far the layering goes.
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Old 03-27-2011, 09:47 PM   #77
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Perhaps the work of the Austrian researcher he refers to addresses that; that would seem to be where he's borrowing the concept of "multiple orders of mental states" from. I assume a device like "Princess Alice" would be too limited for those purposes, though.
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Old 03-27-2011, 11:24 PM   #78
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Yeah, I'm pretty sure Princess Alice wouldn't work for most of the adults I know. Not sure about a few of them, though. How sophisticated an experiment would you need? I'm guessing not as sophisticated as we'd think. But I would be interested to see the layering. It's an intesting concept, though. How sophisticated do our thought processes have to be to deceive ourselves?
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Old 03-28-2011, 08:40 PM   #79
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Originally Posted by BonosSaint View Post
Yeah, I'm pretty sure Princess Alice wouldn't work for most of the adults I know. Not sure about a few of them, though. How sophisticated an experiment would you need? I'm guessing not as sophisticated as we'd think. But I would be interested to see the layering. It's an intesting concept, though. How sophisticated do our thought processes have to be to deceive ourselves?
I don't know. I imagine most adults would scoff at the Princess Alice story. . .until the picture falls or the lights flicker, and then I bet you'd find more than a few thinking twice. It'd give me the creeps, at the very least.
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Old 03-28-2011, 08:52 PM   #80
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I'd imagine most adults would have one of two reactions:

"Aha! This is some sort of test to see if I'm superstitious. I don't want them to think I am, so I won't move my hand." (The researchers think that I might think that Princess Alice knows that I don't know where the ball is and wants to show me, and if I confirm their suspicions they'll think I'm stupid.)

or

"Aha! 'Princess Alice' is a coded way for these guys to drop me hints about where the ball is. I'm gonna move my hand." (The researchers think that I don't think that 'Princess Alice' knows anything at all, but they also want to tell me where the ball is and will think I'm stupid if I don't take their hint.)


Or something like that Clearly I wouldn't pass the Tolstoy test, why am I not surprised...
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