Common Biases - Otherkin - Kinmunity Jump to content
  • Common Biases


    This is meant to touch on some common biases I see crop up a lot on tumblr, new otherkin, etc. Note that 'bias' doesn't necessarily mean a heavily slanted extreme opinion, but often just an illogical opinion that an argument should not be based on if it wishes to stand firm. Bias is building the house on sand, so to speak.

    Definitions taken from Wikipedia, but these are quite common definitions you should find in any psychology textbook or scientific research manual. My additional comments are added in [bracketed italics], and any sections I find particularly relevant are underlined.

    Confirmation bias - the tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one's preconceptions. In addition, individuals may discredit information that does not support their views. [I feel like this is a major problem for the otherkin community.]

    Self-serving bias - The tendency to claim more responsibility for successes than failures. It may also manifest itself as a tendency for people to evaluate ambiguous information in a way beneficial to their interests.

    Anchoring - The tendency to rely too heavily, or "anchor", on one trait or piece of information when making decisions (usually the first piece of information that we acquire on that subject).

    Anthropomorphism - The tendency to characterize animals, objects, and abstract concepts as possessing human-like traits, emotions, and intentions. [One of the most common biases I see in the community, for obvious reasons. Do animals experience emotion? Yes, but we cannot call it by human terms or claim that animal personalities are similar to our own, because we do not have a window into their minds that tells us exactly what they are thinking.]

    Bandwagon effect - The tendency to do (or believe) things because many other people do (or believe) the same.

    Curse of knowledge - When better-informed people find it extremely difficult to think about problems from the perspective of lesser-informed people. [I'm including this because I do see a lot of older folks being very aggressive in their correction of misinformation. I understand that having been in the community for such a long time, it is aggravating to see history repeat itself and definitions become more and more twisted plus humans are just plain stubborn all the time, but I don't know, maybe because I'm newer I still have an idealist idea of a gentle approach? ALSO please don't take this to mean I'm talking about anyone specifically, just that this is something I do see in general.]

    Focusing effect - The tendency to place too much importance on one aspect of an event. [Dreams are a good example. I may be a dragon in one part of a dream, but the same dream may also contain me riding a rainbow through the castle.]

    Stereotyping - Expecting a member of a group to have certain characteristics without having actual information about that individual. [Anti-kin obviously do this a lot, but it can also apply to stereotyping certain creatures based on assumed traits, such as "all angels are sweet and good" or "all demons are violent and angry".]

    Subjective validation - Perception that something is true if a subject's belief demands it to be true. Also assigns perceived connections between coincidences.
     


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    Well, I've thought a bit about this, also after reading some posts of newly awakened kin who seek advice. I think everyone needs to find their own way to handle these things, and it's different whether you're sure about your kintype or not. I don't want to give advice because I'm far too inexperienced in the community. Hence, I intentionally just refer to myself in the following.

    In public life, I am a very, very, very rational and sceptical person. I don't believe in god, I question almost everything. I never had to cope with anything, never even visited a therapist. There was just no need to. My otherkin belief is purely spiritual. But I've basically been a dragon since 25 years, maybe even more. In the past 5 weeks, I may have been thinking about that more than ever before. And the more I think about it, the more I'm confirmed that I'm as much a dragon as anyone can be. I can ignore it, but at some point it'll come back every time. I've started mediating about my identity only very recently, but I already feel that it's like solving a puzzle. But sometimes I'm just enjoying myself in there. Enjoying how it feels like.

    Yet I still ask myself "Is it all only in your head? Do you just imagine things because you like them? Are you just a victim of the oh-so-dreaded confirmation bias?".

    I'll tell you what. I don't even care. If I just always doubt and think "could it be a confirmation bias? Am I right or not", I won't get anywhere. I just believe what persistently feels right. At some point, I know that I just have to accept. What keeps feeling right even after years can't be so wrong. If it's all just imagination: yes, it would be disappointing, but still, no harm done. It's actually great to have such strong imagination power. If it's not all imagination: even better.

    For me, the bottom line is: I'll take my time. I'll never stop to question myself. But some things I just accept. And finally and most importantly: I trust myself.

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    That's a great point, @Amber. I'm experienced enough to be comfortable giving advice, You're right, and so is @Cipher. There's a balance there. You don't want to jump into anything without patience and thought. Taking your time is extremely important. But you also have to understand that there will never be something that confirms your ideas 100%. There is a certain point where you have to take a stance. Just make sure you take your time getting there 😈

     

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     I understand that having been in the community for such a long time, it is aggravating to see history repeat itself and definitions become more and more twisted plus humans are just plain stubborn all the time

    It really, really is. But that's why it's so important for us to be open to discussion about things we don't agree with. Questions are a good thing, but they have to be asked with understanding, right? Or at least that's how I feel.

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    Yep, exactly. Quite honestly, this article is not directed at people who have gotten to the point of eventual acceptance in their identity journey. It's more for people entirely new to otherkin, who may have come at it from the wrong information. I've had people try to tell me that there's no functional difference between someone who only pretends to be otherkin "for fun" (but doesn't believe anything about themselves is actually nonhuman) and someone who actually holds the beliefs they claim, and I've been told by someone in full seriousness that they confirmed a whole kintype within 5 real-time, non-exaggerated minutes of beginning to play an idle app game - and they couldn't understand why I thought them saying that was a joke.

    It's not an article meant for people who over-question, really, but to warn against the idea of 'don't question anything ever', which ends up simply as roleplaying rather than actually holding an identity. Just gentle reminders when you're starting the journey and are new and excited by everything. The extreme other end isn't good either. I don't believe endless, repetitive cycles of frustrating doubt are healthy either. The goal, I feel, is more to get to a place in your identity where you are comfortable with what you experience, and not so unsure that one question from someone can bring the jenga tower crumbling down. I believe the answer to that question can be as simple as "All I really know is that I have these experiences and I call myself an X, and I'm fine with not trying to puzzle every last detail out" - and that that answer should be acceptable to older community members.

    Edited by Cipher
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