Thursday, 20 March 2014

Differences in experience

Imagine two mice. One wants to get a bit of cheese and gets electric shocks when it gets the cheese. The other mouse gets injected a nice adrenaline rush when it gets the cheese.

If you were mouse number 1, you wouldn't want to get the electric shocks. If this goes on for too long, you'd decide that cheese is a bad thing, because when you get cheese, you get shocked.
However: If the shocks wouldn't happen anymore after just a few times, you'd learn that you don't like the shocks, but that you do like cheese. Cheese without the shocks please!

Now imagine you're mouse number 2. You get the cheese and then you get the adrenaline rush. Great! You get more cheese and get more adrenaline. If this goes on long enough, you'd learn that cheese is a good thing, because it gives you a rush.
However: If the adrenaline rush wouldn't happen anymore after just a few times, you'd be disappointed and confused. Without the rush, the cheese isn't that special anymore. You have learned that cheese isn't that special, but the rush is. You would try to find the adrenaline rush somewhere else.

Both mice are of the same species, with the same needs. Yet they give a different meaning to the cheese, because they experience the consequences of getting the cheese differently. By extension they give a different value to the cheese all together.
I want to show you that when someone experiences something differently, that person will also give a different meaning to something.
If you want to make the first mouse enjoy the cheese, you have to take away the applying of the shocks very quickly. Then the meaning the mouse gives the cheese would be right: Cheese is nice, shocks aren't.
The second mouse would like to keep the added consequence. It was an improvement for it, because of the different experience.

Because of this, it isn't fair to force people, who process information in a very different way, in regular structures. Something that can be a nice experience to one person, can be a very painful experience for a person with a very different way of processing information. When nobody sees the cause and nobody adapts the structure for this person, this person will learn that the activity is something to avoid. Even when the end result of the activity has the potential to be very positive.
If the painful part in the structure was removed, then the person would've had the intended experience.

An example of what I mean can be found in real life. When there's a concert, they tend to add a loud bass to the music, as to strengthen the impact. For a lot of people this helps to add to the rush of the moment and completely enjoy the music.
However, if you're much more sensitive to sound, the added bass probably won't be enjoyable, but absolutely painful:
People who experience the bass as painful, will most likely walk away from the concert. The people who love the bass, will like the concert even more.
If you took the bass away, the people who are sensitive to sound will probably be able to enjoy the music too. The people who love the bass, however, will think the concert is boring and walk away.

Because of this reason, it's very harmful if you force a person with a big difference in information processing in the regular structures.

Disclaimer: Yes, I realise that everyone processes information differently and that forcing someone to do something harmful is always bad. But most people, in general, can find their way in regular structures (there are exceptions). I'm talking about people with big differences in processing information, that cause them to not be able to get along with regular structures anymore. (for example: A person with autism who might find it hard to get a job, because there is too much sensory input)

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