Media, Star Wars and Human Behavior

As I mentioned in my last post, I spent a good deal of the last month dealing with a family reunion and some other business. That experience has helped heighten my understanding of parts of human behavior…

The trip, among other things, has really highlighted the fact that different people pick up on, and form their opinions based on, different features of an event. This leads to interesting confrontations and issues; like the family member who will argue that a person’s faith in god can be determined by whether or not he/she will willingly walk into a casino…

The Media…

This also factors into certain media behavior. There are psychological principles about how and when to present data that effect which features of a story will be picked up on. Persons in the media may choose to report on the race or profession of a crime victim while downplaying other details. This happens in both fiction media, and the ‘non-fiction’ media that we call news media (Note I’m not taking sides on which news media…).

Certain aspects of things will be picked up and noted. This depends on both what the people creating a program or story choose to emphasize and the interests and biases of the people watching/listening

The Star Wars…

A great example of all this happened on the trip when my stepfather, my wife, and I watched Star Wars Episode VII.

My  step father, who is a movie buff, described the movie as “OK”.

My wife, who’s been talking to me about writing way too much, immediately locked onto the character development. Maybe I should say she locked onto the lack of character development…

Myself, I never really got as far as character development. I was stuck on the level of counting references and beats borrowed from other movies.

Three reasonably intelligent people with experience in the genre came up with three different opinions based on three different sets of ‘facts’ from one data pool (the movie).

The situation deepened after we got home… For those who haven’t seen the movie yet there is a new ‘big bad’ in the film known as Snoke. There is also a whole legion of internet theories about who ‘Snoke’ actually is. Candidates include Darth Plagueis, Darth Sidious, Darth Vader, one of the younglings from the Jedi Academy, Luke Skywalker. Leia, Bobafett, and Jar Jar Binks (both as himself and as a reincarnation of one of the ‘Darths’).

All of the conclusions are drown from information in the movie (pictures and bits of sound) to which are added bits of background knowledge and the personal opinons of the individual.

My theory of ‘Snoke’…

Now… lets make this clear at the start; I am doing this as an example of behavior. This is not a genuine theory of who ‘Snoke’ is!

There is really one obvious ‘true’ answer to who Snoke is…

Snoke is Abraham Lincoln.

It’s all pretty obvious.

Snoke is tall (at least the projected image of him is). Lincoln was also tall.

Snoke is some kind of of dark side master (Sith or otherwise). Any time we talk about masters of The Force sooner or later somebody brings up temples. the Lincoln Memorial is somewhere people go when they have a crisis of faith. That is also a definition of a temple.

Snoke is shown sitting in a big, throne like, chair. The statue of Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial shows him sitting in a similar chair.

There it is: Tall, Temple, Chair… The answer is obvious: Snoke is Lincoln!

Actual Conclusions…

In reality I have no idea who ‘Snoke’ is (that’s another writers problem!). My point is that it is pretty easy to jump to conclusions based on a few details without really thinking and learning. We need to do better than that.

We need to avoid building an opinion based on a few details and then rejecting any contrary information. That’s called confirmation bias and it manages to get people into a lot of trouble.

It gets us in trouble when we have the actual experience and facts to go on. It really gets us into trouble if we rely on other people to ‘pre filter’ the facts for us.

Getting the wrong conclusion on who ‘Snoke’ is probably won’t cause any major harm. But doing the same thing with real people and real life can (especially in an election year).

That’s it for this one dear reader. Until next time…

Learn for yourself…

then decide!


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