Last class, we did a few individual and group activities that made us think and interpret situations. One activity was where we had to determine if a statement was an observation or an inference. Another activity was to come up with explanations for correlations that were presented to us, such as why the older children in an orphanage have lower IQs than the younger children. The first activity of observation vs. inference was an interesting one because it is a seemingly easy and brainless activity, however there were a few that made me doubt myself once we discussed our answers with the class and I was surprised to have to correct a few of my answers. Observations and inferences are things that we do everyday, whether we realize it or not, and we rarely go through the mental process of deciding if it is an observation or inference. Inferences are such a huge part of life that they can easily be mistaken as an observation. Inferences surround many of our daily life decisions, for example, if we wake up to a dark bedroom and hear the sound of water droplets on our window, we will assume (or infer) that it is raining outside and wear rain boots that day. We don't need to open the curtain and see the rain falling from the cloudy sky in order to feel confident enough that it is raining. However, this type of thinking can get us in trouble when it comes to relations with other people; for example if someone does not return your phone call, you may assume that they are angry at you and purposely not calling you, when it could really be that their phone battery died. I have definitely made inferences such as these in my life, especially when it comes to friends and family. It is important to recognize the difference between an observation and inference because an observation is something you can be confident in being correct, there is no debating its validity, however an inference can differ from person to person and is based off of an individuals emotions and thought process, which will result in a situation being interpreted differently depending on the individual.
The second activity of coming up with explanations for given correlation's was also interesting because this is also something that we humans do often without realizing. If someone told us that is is snowing and they do not have class that day, we will assume that they have a snow day, however there are other explanations such as that they just never have classes on that day of the week and it also happens to be snowing. What I found from my answers to this activity is that it is easy to just come up with the most obvious explanation, which is that both facts are directly related to each other, one exists only because the other does. However, having to come up with multiple explanations made myself and my group have to think more deeply into less directly related explanations.