Reticular Activator and Knee-Jerk Seattle
The reticular activator is the part of your brain that starts noticing things once you are aware of them (whether it is real or not).
Looking to buy a Porsche? Hmmm… everyone seems to be driving Porsches.
Concerned about global warming? Hmmm... the weather sure seems warm lately.
Believe that women are often victims of domestic violence? Hmmm ... seems like there are a lot of stories in the news about women getting hurt by men.
This part of your brain is on the lookout 24/7--even when you're asleep--for things that fall into any of these three categories: 1) things that are familiar or connected to you in some way; 2) things that are unusual, abnormal, shocking or strange; and 3) things that are dangerous, threatening or problematic.
Whenever your brain detects things that are familiar, unusual or problematic, it sends a message to the conscious side of the brain and says, "Hey, wake up! There's something you need to pay attention to here." We call those familiar, unusual or problematic things "activators." Your brain acts like radar on a subconscious level, constantly looking for activators. It's searching for things that are familiar, unusual, or problematic--things that require a conscious response. Whenever it finds one, it snaps your brain out of alpha sleep and into beta alert.
This is the part of your mind that marketers leverage. Same with politicians and same with "advocates" hoping to get funding for their cause. Run enough advertisements, say something enough, or claim a crisis enough, and people start to see it or notice it through the noise of everyday life. Information or evidence that contradicts the message or belief planted in their heads is not noticed. It takes a conscious, deliberate, and often painful effort to see reality once that old reticular activator has been trained.
This is why it took Norm Maleng so long to arrest Verma Ogden-Whitehead. And, this is why people in Seattle buy so easily into "global warming" without having much evidence to support it.
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