Skip to main content

Day 308: Streetlight Effect

Image Source: Google Images
As a researcher one needs to be careful about what we 'search' for and what we 'find'. As a social scientist, it is a hard job to make sure I am not going just too narrow in my vision than what is required for my focus. These observational biases is not uncommon in the scientific world and is usually called as the 'Streetlight effect'. What it means is that you look only for something at a place where you believe it is found or where it is the easiest to find. Abraham Kaplan, an American philosopher also used an interesting story to illustrate this effect.

I will illustrate this story here in my words. Once a man was searching for something by the roadside. A policeman stopped by and asked him as to what he was looking for. The man told him that he lost his wallet and was looking for it. So, the policeman again checked if he was sure that was the place where he lost it. To this the man replied that it could be anywhere on that street. Now the policeman was surprised and asked as to why was he then just standing in one place and looking for it there. The man replied that that was the only spot where there was light (the streetlight) and hence, he kept looking there. 

This is what is called the streetlight effect where we look for something only at one place just because that is the only convenient place to look for. This story is not only of value to researchers and the scientific community, but makes sense from a philosophical stance too. Let us stop looking at only what is 'convenient' for us. Let us look for the 'truth'. Let us not stick to only where we can see the light. A light should lead us and not just hold us to a place. Let the light lead on..... 
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Day 57: Manjadikuru (The Little Red Seeds)

Do you guys know about Manjadikuru ? They are the little red seeds. For anyone who is from God's own country or is familiar with Kerala wouldn't have missed this. There is something special about holding them, playing with these seeds. Usually, most homes will have a small 'uruli' or a bowl filled with these beautiful and shiny red seeds. In most Krishna temples in Kerala, you will come across a small 'uruli' with Manjadikuru. People believe that it is lucky to take these seeds with both hands and just play with them when you visit a temple. Some even leave a couple of coins as they do this.  In Guruvayoor (my favorite place), you can see a big 'uruli' with manjadi. 

So, why and how did this become prevalent ? It goes back to a story from the past. Many years ago, there lived a poor lady in northern Kerala. She was an ardent devotee of Lord Guruvayoorappan (Krishna) and always wanted to visit Guruvayoor.  She could not afford to buy any offering (nived…

Day 207: Malayalam Movie Dialogues: Nadodikkattu "Ethra manoharamaya"

Dasan and Vijayan team is one of the most popular character pair in Malayalam movie fraternity. Every Malayalee will remember the dialogues from these movies. The pair of Lal-Sreenivasan as Dasan - Vijayan just brought (and still bring) smiles and simple joy among movie goers. Between Sathyan Anthikkad and Priyadarshan, there were three movies directed using the same team for the lead pair. With the script written by Sreenivasan himself, these movies have become immortal in the history of Malayalam cinema.
Among the set of 3 movies done using the combination, the first one was 'Nadodikkattu'. The picture that depicts the dialogue is from that movie. The second and third were 'Pattanapravesham' and 'Akkare Akkare Akkare'. Even though each movie was good this one is something very special. The dialogues are so popular that I don't think any of us would 'not' use them in everyday life. 
This one given below is by Vijayan (played by Sreenivasan) that s…

Day 210: Malayalam Movie Dialogues: Diamond Necklace "Arunetta"

Time for a recent movie context. This is one of my new favorite actor- Anushree. This scene is from a movie called Diamond Necklace. It is not a comedy movie but this specific actor's character does bring in innocence and sweetness that will make you smile. Why do I like her? Well, she has a beautiful knack to enact serious, comedy, strong roles with ease. She came into movies through a reality show and trust me she is a real find. This is her first one and she plays a small role as the protagonist's innocent wife. The innocence of 'Rajashree' just won so many hearts. 
The dialogue reads "Ende Arunettane manasilkkan ini vere aara ullathu" means "Now, who else is there to understand my Arun":) For those who understand the context you can smile, the rest, please go and watch this one :)