Essay on Ladder of Inference

Essay on Ladder of Inference

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The human body has evolved over a period to have characteristics that preserve itself. A great example of such a characteristic is the human body’s response to being struck by a mallet on the knee. This reaction actually developed over time to help correct a person’s balance if they were to lose it suddenly (Weiner, 2010). The signal from the knee to the brain and back would not happen quickly enough to prevent a fall and thus our bodies have evolved to have this reaction without the brain being involved. This reaction is involuntary and happens almost instantly. In very much the same way our bodies have evolved to have quick reactions to avoid danger, our brains have evolved as well. If you are walking down the street and someone starts aggressively running towards you, your brain quickly analyzes the situation and tells your body to either prepare to run or prepare to fight. The brain needs to process this information quickly in order to be able to address the situation before the person reaches you. In order to be able to accomplish this the brain will make several assumptions quickly based on current knowledge and past experiences in order to solve the problem quickly. The process that the mind follows in order to complete this is called the ladder of inference. It is in essence an evolved behavioral trait that most human utilize to non-actively analyze data.

The concept of the ladder of inference was first introduced in the book the fifth discipline, but previously developed by Harvard’s Chris Argyris (Senge, 2006). While everyone understood that the human brain was making quick assumptions this model was the first to break in down scientifically. It introduces the idea of tiers that a person’s mind goes through when presen...


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...against all candidates, and does it represent beliefs or values that need to be reevaluated. Simply educating those around you on the ladder of inference and being able to alert them when they have jumped up their ladder too quickly is a great start.



Works Cited

Harvey, C., & Allard, M. J. (2012). Understanding and managing diversity: Readings, cases, and exercises. (5 ed.). Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Bell, M. P. (2012). Diversity in organizations. (2 ed.). Mason, OH: South-Western.
Senge, P. M. (2006). The fifth discipline; the art and practice of the learning organization. (Revised ed. ed.). New York, NY: Doubleday.
Weiner, W. J. (2010). Neurology for the non-neurologist. (6th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
The ladder of inference. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.mncounties.org/Futures/Taskforce/feb11/The Ladder of Inference.pdf

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