The Group Psychology of Information

Published by Lex on

Watching the group psychology over the generation, transmission and reception of information play out over the last few years has shown me the utter delusion that we live under.

There is a vestigial belief that there is something called the truth out there. Contrary to the X Files, the truth is not out there.  There may be multiple truths, but I am not sure how useful that is.

The human mind is easy to fool, and humans have long known how to fool it. This has always been the case, but maybe it is more observable now on a mass scale.

Information is in the brain of the receiver. The worst part is that whatever version of reality you believe yourself to be in, there is another version of reality that is just as real to someone else.

Magic works, but it is not just magic. Limits and blind spots are there to be exploited. It is not a feature, but it is not a bug either. The human brain has filters to help us process reality. Our brains and senses are all different and we all perceive things differently. This difference in perception allows certain people to perform better in different situations.

Data is the proxy for reality 

Data shows that people react well to information that refers to data, but the are limits of the usefulness of data and by extension scientific management. In a Newtonian world, levers work. But in a non Newtonian world, things don’t work in the same way.

This is very much the case with digital information management. The information is translated into bits.

Put the bits back together again and they kind of represent one level of physical reality at that moment in time.

We have been using tools to make so-called rational decisions for years. Generating, collecting, recording and reporting on bits of information.  We feel good, when we feel the information is complete (even though there is no such thing as complete information).

Data and information are the basis of rational decision making even if the data is imperfect. We take all of these inputs, weigh the possibilities that we can think of and come up with one option that seems like the most rational choice.

The current best practice is to feed information into different scenarios and build contingency plans around different possible outcomes. The idea of planning for every contingency is nice in theory, but not practical given how many variables there are.

Sadly we are left with an imperfect state regardless of the information tools available at our disposal.