Thursday, 24 April 2014

Baader Meinhof Phenomenon………Baader Meinhof Phenomenon……..

This is an interesting tidbit of information we are dispensing today - that of the Baader Meinhof Phenomenon also known as frequency illusion.
A Stanford linguistics professor coined the term in 2006 to describe the syndrome in which a concept or thing you just found out about suddenly seems to crop up everywhere. It’s caused, he wrote, by two psychological processes. The first, selective attention, kicks in when you’re struck by a new word, thing, or idea; after that, you unconsciously keep an eye out for it, and as a result find it surprisingly often. The second process, confirmation bias, reassures you that each sighting is further proof of your impression that the thing has gained overnight omnipresence.
Now this explains why Stoneballs Company continually comes across spherical shapes all over the place and at unexpected times. Thinking the world was perhaps being taken over by the aforementioned geometric objects it is now easily explained - our brains are selectively picking them out from an ocean of shapes.  Our brains are fantastic pattern recognition engines, a characteristic which is highly useful for learning. Considering how many words, names, and ideas a person is exposed to in any given day, it is unsurprising that we sometimes encounter the same information again within a short time. When that occasional intersection occurs, the brain promotes the information because the two instances make up the beginnings of a sequence. 
On a recent trip to Doddington Hall in Lincolnshire (wonderful house, gardens and shops. See below for further information) we were subjected to yet another link in our particular sequence. No sooner had we tumbled out of the car when we were met by a lawn full of rattan balls on sticks - quite a surreal moment and no real explanation other than sculpture in the garden.
Rattan balls Doddington Hall

The next day found Stoneballs Company visiting clients near Sunningdale, Berkshire. After parking and (again) tumbling from the car our attention was taken by the sound of a chain saw coming from a nearby tree. Yes, you guessed it - or maybe you hadn't if you haven't paid full attention to this blog entry - there high up in the tree receiving noisy attention from a tree surgeon and his blade, was a series of balls - not dissimilar to the Doddington Hall balls but this time high up in the branches of a tree! The balls were Mistletoe balls and what an amazing sight to add to our brain-led sequence. 

Misteltoe balls

Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon / Frequency illusion - It's a fascinating psychological theory and we expect, having read this entry, you will now follow our experiences and begin to witness similar sequences and acknowledge the omnipresence of balls. anyone?!

The building of Doddington Hall began in about 1593 and the Hall was finished in 1600. It was built by Robert Smythson who also built Wollaton Hall in Nottingham and Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire. In the mid 1700s the building was inherited by John Delaval who redesigned much of the Hall quite drastically into a more Georgian style although he kept the outside of the Hall the same as it was when it was originally built.
The Hall has never been sold for the last 400 years amd today it is the family home of the Birches who inherited the house through the generations, (the family name having changed several times because of women inheriting the building). The Birches devote their work to the upkeep of the house and gardens, preserving as much as possible the original features of the house, as well as encouraging visitors to the house and gardens

The common name of Mistletoe is derived from the Anglo-Saxon mistel, meaning dung, and tan, meaning twig. So, literally, it's the dung-on-a-twig plant. Evocative.  After a bird, usually a mistle thrush, eats the sticky berries, they're excreted with much of their sticky coating still attached. So, as soon as they land on a branch they stick and are ready to germinate in February and March in exactly the right place. Mistletoe is a partial parasite, which means that although its small green leaves provide the host plant with energy through photosynthesis, it also sends a root under the bark into its host and gathers nutrients there and after some time large balls of the plant develop, which probably doesn't do the host tree much good but does look good.