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How backward is backward thinking?

Backward reading can be fun however pointless it serves. Backward thinking, on the other hand, is conflicting it makes investigating and experimenting the skills to hone.

Humanist Dad’s Forward Vs backward thinking provided investigation as the ground to grow forward thinking against backward one. It nurtures the value of conclusion based on evidence rather than finding evidence to support conclusion.

Backward Thinking
The detective comes to the scene and sees a dead woman, a kitchen knife in her chest, lying in the living room. A crying man is sitting at the kitchen table with blood all over his shirt and hands shouting, “I killed her!” The detective decides that the man is most likely the killer and begins finding evidence to support his theory: signs of a struggle, the man’s fingerprints on the knife, the next-door neighbour whispers that she always heard them arguing, they have high debts. The man is obviously guilty, no need to waste money doing more investigations, case closed.

Forward Thinking
Another detective enters the same scene and collects the same evidence. However, he then looks for other evidence as part of his routine: fingerprints are taken from all doors and windows, footsteps around the house are collected, tires marks on the driveway are analyzed, cigarette ashes are found on the floor but no ashtrays. This evidence suggests a third person was at the house recently (who the detective simply calls Mr. X). The detective formulates a theory – The man owed a debt to a shady character (Mr. X) who smoked. Mr. X entered the house and argued with the man and woman. Mr. X grabbed a kitchen knife and stabbed the woman. The distraught man tried to remove the knife but couldn’t and hugged the woman while she died. He blames her death on his debt to Mr. X. The detective has a valid theory but still requests more time to investigate further.

Backward thinking when taken literally and actually will reap the benefits of attentiveness and focus. The Power of Backward thinking delved with experimenting on advantages of backward thinking in dealing with threats as an evolutionary root.

Psychologist Severine Koch and her colleagues at Radboud University Nijmegen ran this simple experiment. They had volunteers walk just a few steps, either forward, backward, to the left or to the right. Then they immediately took the Stroop test. This is the test with the names of colors printed in different color inks; the word blue, for example, might be printed in blue—or it might be printed in red or yellow. The volunteers try very quickly to name the color of the ink rather than read the word. It’s cognitively very difficult to quash the impulse to read, so fast and accurate responses are taken as an indicator of focus and concentration.

The results, reported in the May issue of the journal Psychological Science, were intriguing. Those who had walked just a few steps backward were far more focused and attentive than were any of the others. That is, their physical retreat triggered increased mental control—presumably because of the ancient link between threat and vigilance.

Backward thinking slows us down in times of threat. It gives us time and space to reconsider other choices or options. These choices empower us to attain self-control to further our thoughts and actions.

However, backward thinking can inflict harm specially if we are to judge the actions of others. Since we are at the safe side, to value the convenience of having conclusion without considering all the details is more enticing than drawing a conclusion from the evidences. Since we are at the safe side, to cast verdict is less engaging into thinking and much easier than facing the conflicts of investigation.

How backward is backward thinking? It is backward if absolutely self-serving. Under threat, backward thinking will keep us safe.  Under no harm circumstance, backward thinking pulls us back to sloth to experiment and investigate and values the convenience of ignorance is bliss.

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This entry was posted on August 29, 2012 by in Because Life Matters, Solitary Emission and tagged , , .
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