Listener’s Bias

No review today, as I’m preparing to travel, but I don’t want to mess up my awesome-looking posting habits.

So here’s a concept for your consideration.

It’s called the “listener’s bias,” and it a-goes somethin’ like this:

SOMEtimes it’s not that we CAN’T understand – it’s that we’re not TRYING to understand.
As an example…I once took a math class where the instructor was from India and spoke with a distinct accent. Nearly every day, I heard someone or another complaining about how they couldn’t understand what she was saying, even though she was speaking more coherent English than I hear plop out of the mouths of lazy, native American English speakers every time I leave the house. The problem wasn’t that the instructor had a problem speaking; her students had a problem listening. They heard the accent and automatically switched off, making up their minds that she was the one not communicating well.

Apply this to music.

One of the most apparent ways this bias rears its ugly head is when someone states he or she doesn’t like a specific genre of music. Oh, you don’t like country music? Not even Johnny Cash? Not even Patsy Cline? Not even Wilco? Are you suuure you don’t like country music? You don’t like any Garth Brooks songs? No ‘Friend of the Devil’? No ‘Bron-Yr-Aur (/Stomp)’? Really…? Really?

I dare say you don’t have a very full appreciation for music then, my fine sir.
Go back to school.

Don’t miss out on awesome music just because you’ve set your mind against some stereotypical ideal you’ve formed in your head about what makes a certain genre. Don’t fall into the trap of the listener’s bias.

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2 comments

  1. I was just thinking about a similar concept today, although not really with regard to listening, more as a personality aspect. It’s interesting how different people can be in the way they react to popular things. I know a full spectrum of people (cont. in next comment as I can’t see the full text box for some reason)….

  2. CN Heidelberg · · Reply

    …(now I can’t see my last comment so I don’t know where I left off…oh well…onward…)…
    From people who immediately reject anything popular because they are sure they cannot like anything that “everyone” likes to people who will suffer through entire popular book trilogies, hating them the whole way, because they are sure that “everyone” can’t be wrong and they will get to the good part soon! I just find it fascinating how different people are.

Et tu?

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