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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Some Useful Terms

Parsimony – “…the principle of endorsing the simplest explanation that covers a case” Encarta Dictionary.

Misguided parsimony – cases in which the simplest explanation neglects to take into account the complexities involved.  For example, John is unemployed because he is lazy (the simple explanation) vs. John is unemployed because of the current economy (a more complex explanation).  Misguided parsimony can be an instance of the fundamental attribution error.

Another helpful concept is high self-monitor—someone who feels compelled to craft every response weighing and measuring everything they say tweaking it for the response of their current audience—a response in any case largely outside the self-monitor’s control.  A high degree of self-monitoring gives one an air of being forced, defensive, and lacking in frank spontaneity.  In dealing with a high self-monitoring individual one senses a level of difficulty much like that sensed when watching a relative novice struggling to find the right strings on a cello during a recital.  For example, if asked how they liked a movie, a spontaneous self-confident person without a moment’s hesitation might say it was a great (or lousy) movie.  A high self-monitoring individual when asked will have a flash of stage fright carefully weighing the impact of their evaluation and come across as struggling and forced and lacking in frank spontaneity.  Conversing with a high self-monitor can be a painful experience for everyone.

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