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james carson

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to what extent does our self-interpretation create behavioural boundaries?

Self-interpretation and behaviour share an intimate relationship. Amy's video illuminates the impacts that our body language has on the way we feel, and consequently the way we interpret who we are. She also reveals the impacts our self-concept can have on our behavioural decisions, with the example of her belief that she was not capable enough for Princeton creating an urge to not pursue her course

This made me think, does our memory, the accumulative account of our PREVIOUS actions create a belief system that defines behavioural boundaries?
I mean in the long term, if we repeatedly behave in a particular way, such as being shy, submissive does this increase the rigidity in which we characterise our "self" with these attributes?

If we do attribute our "self" these traits, could this self-interpretation be internalised into the unconscious or memory, subsequently having an influence over spontaneous behaviour. I say "spontaneous" behaviour to describe the more habitual actions we feel are natural to us, so the actions that are influenced by our immediate reactive thoughts/emotions when interacting with others and the environment.

It is my personal belief that, so many people are limited by these "behavioural boundaries" that don't really exist! They are just a consequence of the way we identify the amalgamated thoughts, emotions, memories and experiences that are the foundation of our self-concept. I also belief that emotions and thoughts are ephemeral, and that we are constantly adding to our bank of experience so our "self" is continuously changing, which is why there is no benefit to a rigid identity. If people could understand the impermanence of "self" could we be more capable of transcending our behavioural boundaries by becoming more aware of the nature the "self", using the flexibility in action to diversify our self qualities in the most uninhibited way.

I don't study psychology so sorry for any insufficiencies, id appreciate any relative thoughts


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    Oct 6 2012: Daniel Kahneman, either in his TED talk or his Nobel address, talks of how we confuse what you might be calling "self-interpretation" with introspective certainty. We know ourselves worse than we think we do and thus could easily misjudge both our motivations and potential, misinterpreting the reasons for our perceived failures or our perceived successes.

    As George writes below, all the practices that use psychology to manipulate people (George mentions advertising, salesmanship, NLP, and others) acknowledge your assumption that our behaviors can be manipulated through our self image.
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      Oct 8 2012: I don't think he mentions introspective uncertainty in his memory vs experience talk, ill have to you-tube his Nobel address.

      I completely agree, I don't think that we know ourselves as well as we would like to believe, especially on a psychological level. Yeah I try to use the idea self interpretation loosely, rather than it being an accurate observation of yourself, its kind of a net term that describes how information within our awareness is identified as a characteristic of the personality/identity/self. So like, for example you could have an individual that experiences anxiety during public speech, when the emotion is consciously experienced it is identified as an inherent component of the self, translating what is simply an emotional experience into self-identification.

      I think what Kahneman describes as distorting the significance of memories, illuminates how self-identification could possibly obscure our understanding of the information we experience and remember.I think it's near enough impossible for self-observation to be objective in the sense of having an absolute lucidity in which we can view ourselves. I mean neutrality is so hard to ascertain, emotional equanimity always has an upper hand in observation next to a polarised observer, but its only complementary to lucidity. Our world-view is a deep obstacle, we interpret information within our personal consensus so its so difficult to actually know oneself in an unbiased way. It leads me to question a quote I really love, I feel it expresses the openness, flexibility and adaptability that is necessary for an honest learning process.
      " A man should always look for what is, and never what he thinks should be" Einstein.
      But is this even possible? The foundation of a hypothesis is expectation, estimating what should be!

      Anyway I waffled terribly, I just enjoy having an outlet for thoughts, it is something hard to come by in my day-to-day life as a bored 18 year old. lol
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        Oct 8 2012: I don't know if there is a YouTube of the address, but I know I have read it online.

        I interpret the Einstein quote to mean that we should try not to let our biases interfere with our judgment and that we should try not to filter out data that challenges our favorite points of view.

        Einstein was a strong believer in our intuition in the fields in which we have the expertise to make such intuiion basically sound. Kahneman would underline the last part of that sentence to emphasize that intuition and bias are closely connected and that the more entrenched we are for whatever reason in our points of view, the less reliable our intuition is to yield valid insights.

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