Artemis Takes Aim


Today has been one of surprises. I have been contemplating for some time the link between time orientation, decision making, information, and human behavior.

And then this:


What moron is still buying toy guns for kids? Kids are creative. They will find ways to imitate/emulate violence during playtime on their own. My siblings and I used the lamppost from a Sesame Street play set when we played cops and robbers. I'm not saying adults shouldn't be able to take up arms in defense of their homes. I'm saying no one needs to give a kid a play gun. If a kid wants to play killer, she can manage on her own. Given that you'd have to be comatose not to know about the recent violence in Ferguson, or the Trayvon Martin tragedy, why would any parent who gives a rat's ass about his kid provide him with anything so unnecessary that might endanger his life?!

What does this have to do with surprise? Several things. (1) I'm not surprised to hear another kid with a toy gun has been shot. (2) I am surprised anyone in the United States still buys toy guns. (3) I am utterly befuddled by those toy gun purchasers who express surprise on hearing that a cop has shot their kids. But as long as morons buy toy guns and give them to kids, we'll continue to see tragic incidents like these.

Similarly, as long as one assumes decisions are made in situations of perfect information, we'll continue to be surprised. And this is the premise underlying my work on time orientation and information practice. As long as we assume that everyone who encounters information interprets it in the same manner, we are setting ourselves up for surprise. Time orientation, in particular, affects interpretation of information in ways that can have surprising effects.

Stay tuned....


Diana L. Ascher, PhD, MBA, is a principal at Stratelligence and a co-founder of the Information Ethics & Equity Institute. Her lifelong interest in knowledge and decision making has focused on the evaluation, classification, organization, communication, and interpretation of information, and motivates her work in the fields of behavioral science, finance, higher education, information studies, journalism, law, leadership, management, medicine, and policy. She brings more than two decades of experience as a writer, editor, media director, and information strategist to her work.


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