The importance of pattern matching
Have you ever considered how we learn to recognise everything around us? In fact, it is no mystery, we do this
through a process called pattern-matching.
Think of the first time a parent attracts the attention of a child to the cows in the field. What on earth does that
child think they are seeing? They have no reference, nothing to compare it to in their memory bank. So
they simply store the information for future use and hope that all will become clear. When over the next few weeks cows
are repeatedly pointed out in story books, on television and on the trip to the farm, the child is now forming a picture
of what a cow seems to look like. This picture needs to be flexible as it has to allow for variation in size, shape, colour
At some later date this same child learns in the same way to recognise pigs and sheep. Then, just as the
child thinks it has these all squared away, the parent sings a song and the child learns a new word, animal!
Again, there is no recorded history for this word, so the child is taught to group existing images in order to
understand the song.
The principal here is that we record images and use our senses constantly to examine the outside world(we call this recognition).
We match the patterns we see around us to those we have already identified, and this not only allows
us to recognise, but also to recognise what we do NOT recognise, and this is important as the new arrival could represent a possible
threat or danger. In other words, by using pattern matching and memory we are not only able to eliminate risk in our everyday
environment (familiarity), but also to highlight something new which may be a threat. Perhaps this explains why we are often anxious
or unsure of ourselves when facing something new for instance.
When we have been through a particularly traumatic experience and have recorded some personally devastating Images in association
with this particular event, this is why we react so extremely when faced with a similar image in our current day-to-day life. The
medical model calls this PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).
In reality it is a pattern-match to a previous bad life experience and causes emotional arousal in order to prevent us from
repeating the experience. Very sensible, but sometimes also inappropriate and even destructive. These troublesome but well-meaning
memories can be quickly calmed down using the Human Givens rewind technique which is highly effective.