*Cross-listed course: this article appears under Psychic Mind, Mind Training and Science of Self, with changes and additions to emphasize the ways these principles are used in the different subjects. Take a look at the different applications by clicking the links for each subject above.
Our next section block will deal with interpretive strategies. Perhaps one of the most important psychological underliers to get to know is how people interpret behaviors.
It’s something we’ve touched upon in our articles about synchronicity and positive outlooks, and now we’re going to go more in-depth on a very important psychological component of psychic powers: attribution theory.
You’ve heard over and over again the adage: “You get what you give” and the basis for this is rooted in science. We tend to see more positive aspects of the world when we are happy, versus seeing the ills and evils in the world when we are depressed. Mood and other social influences can shape our world view and our world view can perpetuate itself in a cycle of self-creation. In this section, we will explore attribution theory and its application in the world to promote positive self-identity and its power in influencing people.
As a species, we have such a desire to explain things that we can become overwhelmed. We tend to explain our behavior and the behavior of others by assigning attributes to these behaviors. Because of this constant need to explain or have things explained to us, it opens up some unusual and unexpected possibilities for persuasion.
Attribution theory is one of psychology’s most used theories for how people interpret behavior. Basically, there are two sources behaviors stem from: Situational (external) factors and Dispositional (internal) factors. On the one hand, you can explain the back-biting behavior of a popular girl as situational: it’s because of social pressures that make her act this way. Or, you can look at dispositionally as: man, that girl’s a total bitch. The statistics of it make sense: people are more likely to use the dispositional approach when judging someone else, and more likely to see external forces hindering themselves when a problem arises.
Two of the most common errors in interpreting behavioral causes are the Fundamental Attribution Error (or correspondence bias) and Self-Serving Bias.
The Fundamental Attribution Error comes from over-valuing dispositional or situational explanations as causes for behavior. If psychology is anything it’s a convoluted gray area where explanations blend and mix with many other and sometimes differing reasons.
The Self-Serving Bias works off of the principle that we tend to equate success with internal explanations and failure with external attributes. Though this is true for most people, those who are depressed have a flipped notion of influencing factors. If something happens that is negative, they tend to blame themselves as having a failed dispositional aspect. Success might be seen as the work of external factors such as luck.
It is important to note these fundamental elements of our psychological make up. You can use this information in your psychic practice to urge people to have a more positive outlook, as well as understanding what explanations are going to be heard and accepted by your client.