Eloge des chercheurs renards

PRINCETON – Nous vivons dans un monde complexe, qui nous oblige à le simplifier. Nous catégorisons les gens autour de nous en tant qu’amis ou ennemis, qualifions leurs motivations comme bonnes ou mauvaises et attribuons à des causes simples des événements aux racines complexes. Ces raccourcis nous aident à naviguer parmi les complexités de notre existence sociale. Ils nous aident à former des attentes quant aux conséquences de nos actions et de celles des autres, facilitant ainsi la prise de décision.

Cependant, parce que ces « modèles mentaux » sont des simplifications, ils sont nécessairement faux. Bien qu’ils puissent nous aider à faire face aux défis quotidiens, ils laissent de côté de nombreux détails et peuvent se révéler contreproductifs lorsque nous nous trouvons dans un environnement pour lequel nos catégorisations et explications toutes faites sont moins adaptées. Le terme « choc culturel » fait référence à des situations dans lesquelles nos attentes concernant le comportement des autres se révèlent être tellement fausses que l’expérience nous fait l’effet d’un choc.

Et pourtant, sans ces raccourcis, nous serions perdus ou paralysés. Nous n'avons ni la capacité mentale, ni la compréhension nécessaire pour déchiffrer tout le réseau de relations de cause à effet qui compose notre existence sociale. Dès lors, nos comportement et réactions de tous les jours doivent être fondés sur des modèles mentaux incomplets et parfois trompeurs.

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