Let’s play a quick game: the goal of the game is to fill in the blank. ABC-123-ABC-123-AB__-123. In this example, you can see the ABC repeating after 123. With that information, you can anticipate a C to fill in the blank.
Let’s try a harder one: ABC-123-GFI-769-EFA-__61. This one is a little more complex. There is no repeat like the first example, but there is a similarity. You recognize that the numbers correspond with the alphabetical order of the letters, so you can correctly guess a 5 will fill in the blank, corresponding with E. Once you synapse the causality of the pattern, you can anticipate unknown.
These examples of pattern recognition, while simple, illustrate the entire idea of trends. A trend is simply a repeated connection of two ideas. You have the ability to detect and record stimulus as information and synapse that information together. You also have the ability to synapse a causality to the information if one can be determined.
The determination of causality is also called science. You are a scientist and a detective at heart: you always want to know why! You see information and know that there is something that connects it all. Your drive for completion leads to you discover what lies underneath.
Determining trends also helps with the habituation process. If a trend exists that you can anticipate, you will eventually become habituated to it if it poses no threat. For example, let’s say you’re on a safari tour to see some wildlife. Your car drives very close the animals and they don’t seem to be scared of you at all, despite the potential danger that comes from a vehicle filled with humans.
This probably isn’t always how the animals acted, they probably were initially terrified of vehicles driving around. However, safari tours are nonviolent and with enough nonviolent tours, the animals synapsed the trend that the cars are not dangerous. Because of their lack of danger, the cars now tend to fade into the background of the animals’ lives. No need to focus on it since it poses no threat.
Now let’s say that you are looking at this group of balls, what is the first thing you notice? It’s the blue one, right? Upon first looking at this image, you synapse the idea of red to the ball. That synapse is solidified with the other red balls as the trend of red balls starts to form. Then you notice the blue one and the trend is broken! All of that happens within a fraction of a second, by the way.
When a trend is disrupted, it calls attention to the consciousness. Let’s look at this in our earlier habituation example. If the animals are habituated to safari cars, and a tank rolls through the safari trail instead of the car, the animals are going to take notice. The new vehicle is not already known to be safe by the animals and this new unknown vehicle will stimulate fear and a fight or flight response.
Let’s look at trend formation within our early social interactions, namely school. The social goal in school is one of two things: stand out from or fit in with everyone else. Your personal goal will depend on how you were exposed to attention from others earlier in life.
When a new kid comes to the school, everyone takes notice: a disruption of a trend since new kids don’t come most days. If that kid uses a wheelchair, there’s another disruption of the trend since most of the kids at school probably do not use a wheelchair. If that kid has red hair, there is yet another disruption of trends as red hair is more rare than the common brown or blonde.
Children have the tendency to point out, and sometimes make fun of, differences between each other. It is an automated process to detect disruptions of trends! As children grow and develop, they begin to expand their perspective to see the differences in what they do versus what they expect their peers to do. You notice the ways that you disrupt the trend of what is normal, making you a bit more self-conscious.
Kids, listen up. You are different. You are unlike anyone else, and that’s just great! Everyone is different and part of growing up is noticing those differences. You can go the usual route and hide your differences to blend in with everyone else, but that’s not too fun if everyone is hiding their true selves. Just be yourself.
Adults say this all the time but it’s completely true: to be cool, just be you. If you are genuine about your personality and remember that everyone is unique, you won’t feel the need to hide or make fun of other people at all.