Blog reposted with permission from Adam Neal, www.paranormalyte.com
“Achtung, Baby!” proclaimed U2 back in 1991 – ATTENTION!
Well, the German word – ‘Achtung’ – has many contextual meanings, including ‘Respect’ and ‘Esteem.’ So perhaps they didn’t mean it as “ATTENTION,” but since I do, let’s stick with the first part — ATTENTION!
We’re walking through a crowded shopping mall and we spot a yellow sign warning us:
“CAUTION: WET FLOOR!” or the Spanish “CUIDADO: PISO MOJADO!”
The crowd shifts to accommodate the sign like a log caught in a stream — and we understand, ‘Oh! The floor’s wet. Better walk around it,’ because:
A. I don’t want to fall – ouch.
B. I don’t want to disturb the janitor’s work.
C. I want to present that I am a good person who can follow instructions.
D. I really AM a good person who follows instructions.
D. I don’t want to go near in case it is some other danger.
We all have these moments of deliberation, but we usually integrate our response to the situation without having to “think” about it.
If we’re walking alone, we may have time to realize the sign is in Spanish and not in English, although we know the implied meaning. We might even learn a new phrase by assimilating the information — “Piso mojado = Wet floor…” Hmm.
If we’re having a hilarious cell phone conversation with a friend, we may not notice the sign at all and then deal with the janitor’s evil eye as he continues mopping up the area we stepped in.
By now you’re thinking, “Where is this going? This doesn’t even relate to the paranormal!”
Well as usual, there is a method to the madness here at Paranormalyte.
This situation is an example of how to understand a complex psychological concept known as: LATENT INHIBITION
“Latent inhibition is a phenomenon by which exposure to an irrelevant stimulus impedes the acquisition or expression of conditioned associations with that stimulus. Latent inhibition, an integral part of the learning process, is observed in many species.” (see citation below)
Latent inhibition is a way to frame our perceptions of the world around us, and the majority of us stays within an appropriate range. We are attentive to a detail when necessary, inattentive when unnecessary or “irrelevant” to our approach.
Here our “stimulus” is that pesky yellow sign, standing there as a beacon of caution.
Most people function in what is considered a “normal” range of latent inhibition and can both recognize the stimulus and act accordingly without disruption.
However, people with Low Latent Inhibition (considered a mental disorder) treat nearly every stimulus with the same attention as we would a normal range outlier like a standing caution sign.
We take for granted our ability to process – “Oh, a sign” then “Oh, it’s a caution sign,” then “Oh, better steer clear.” Most of the time we do it so quickly that we don’t even think of it as an outlier. People with LLI (low latent inhibition) can not assimilate information so easily because their brains get caught up in every detail of the stimulus.
If we’re walking in a shopping mall and a giant silver UFO materializes outside H&M, we recognize that this is far beyond a normal outlier and our attention peaks. We can recognize that an alien spacecraft is not within our ordinary day-to-day experience, so we will naturally place our focus on it. This process goes right back to our instinctive “fight-or-flight” response — “Oh, that thing shouldn’t be here” then “Oh, that thing looks dangerous” then “Oh, time to run!” This is not low latent inhibition, this is beneficial.
For people with Low Latent Inhibition, something as simple as putting on a shirt may take an exorbitant amount of time because there is a disconnect between the objects and their perceived meanings and implications. The mental process might go:
“Oh, my shirt.”
“Oh, so many buttons.”
“Hmm, how many buttons?”
“How many colors are in it?”
“Oh, look at that string hanging off it – I hope it isn’t ruined!”
“Oh, where was the shirt manufactured?”
And so on, and so on, all the while without putting on the shirt and being active.
Without intention, people can feel their brains creaking like an overcrowded elevator. They are not able to separate what is meaningful and productive from what is unimportant and unproductive. In a manner of speaking, it’s hyperawareness gone haywire!
In the world of psi, this concept is incredibly important in understanding how best to approach perceptions of energy.
To read the entire blog, click here!
About Adam and Paranormalyte.com
Adam Neal is the creator of Paranormalyte.com, a blog dedicated to the discussion of psi-related experiences that defy mainstream scientific explanation. A Magna cum Laude graduate of Muhlenberg College, he began reading Tarot and studying psi research in 2005. He finished WEGO this year, a play dealing with near-death experiences and parapsychology, which he seeks to get produced by next year. He resides in Brooklyn, NY.