HABITUAL THINKING


It can be psychologically difficult to change or replace an established mapping. Information which does not fit existing mappings, and which can therefore be classed as "disruptive", faces not only the problem of lack of recognition, but also tends not to be remembered.

Sanford (1985, p.341):

"information which does not fit schemata tends to be omitted from recall. Yet... things which do not fit command attention for a while... One would imagine that disruptive information would take up more working memory capacity than non-disruptive information, but that unless it could be fitted into some sort of interpretative schema, it would soon be forgotten. It is as though disruptive information needs continual rehearsal to be maintained in memory. So while it may be prominent in the short-term, it will not be remembered. In contrast, information which fits may be incompletely analysed, but will be remembered well. This could easily give rise to a phenomenon which we must all have encountered: explaining our understanding of something to someone, suddenly to find that we do not really understand in full what some of those reasons are."

This schema-theory approach implies that,

"every time we try to form a new interpretation, sweeping the old one aside, we are up against the fact that the old one will be the most 'available' in memory, and will keep creeping in."

For this reason, March and Steadman (1971) argue that it is not enough merely to acquire a range of matrices upon which to map new data, but one must "actively seek not to corroborate the habitual but to conjecture potentiality". This state of affairs is the root of the availability error, discussed by Sutherland (1992).

A designer who endeavours to counteract habitualization may be in conflict with what "everybody knows" about the institutional order of society. In other words, the struggle may be not merely against conventional viewpoints but with what appears to be knowledge.

"Every institution has a body of transmitted recipe knowledge, i.e., knowledge that supplies the institutionally appropriate rules of conduct. Since this knowledge is socially objectivated as knowledge, i.e. as a body of generally valid truths about reality, any radical deviance from the institutional order appears as a departure from reality. Such deviance may be designated as moral depravity, mental disease, or just plain ignorance."
(Berger and Luckmann,1966, p.66)

Fuller's early struggles to gain respect and acceptance for his design philosophy can be seen in this context.



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THE FULLER MAP



Paul Taylor 2001