Misleading visualisations, binary thinking and research
Just an example: how selecting units and color-coding for visualisation can amplify one perspective. Is the US really a nation polarised as much as it seems?
Compare US election results:
This is a good example of the case where black and white (red and blue ;) lenzes would do more harm than good.
It's interesting why do we slip into binary thinking so easily?
I'm guilty of binary representations myself. It's so strange: even given my beliefs in complexity, continuums and multi-dimentional nature of personal knowledge management I often slip into binary mode in my texts, making my own arguments vulnerable and stirring polarisation.
It seems that thinking in binary/linear/tree structures (context) is more natural for our brains than embracing complexity, so we need some conscious effort for getting beyond simplification and polarisation.
Lois Ann Scheidt on this in a context of research:
As human beings it is very common for us to look at new ideas, technology, etc. compare them to their older antecedents and then slot them into a linear continuum between two older examples of similar phenomena. By so doing we position the new idea, technology, etc. as somewhat less then the exemplars that anchor the continuum.
In my own research while I am forced to background some discussions with linear models so I echo the point of view found in published literature, I quickly try to move to more dimensional modeling that symbolizes the complexity of the ideas without making the ideas I am expressing overly complex and difficult for some of my audience to grasp.