- the study of the reasons behind what makes sense and what does not.
- the science of making sense.
definition by the make sense academy.
at the make sense academy, we made [non]sense our science. and we called it sense-ology.
like most scientific matters, it is born out of research, observation and experimentation – constantly questioning itself and adapting to its changing environment. we analyze behaviors. we uncover the whys that most would rather ignore or call crazy. we find reason where there doesn’t always seem to be any. and turn it into models, theories, and snackable treats – like our blog.
still, defining what makes sense and what doesn’t is a very complicated matter. it’s usually subjective. it’s culturally tuned. It’s context-dependent. and it’s often very personal. what makes sense to one person or even to a group in a given environment, might not to others. it might not even make sense to the same people in a different setting. or what seemed so irrational 10 years ago, makes perfect sense right now. sounds familiar?
what feels “logical” is often based on past experiences, acquired knowledge, personal preferences, or unwritten social conventions. and it’s only when all those overlap that something can make sense. that’s why we placed sense-ology at the intersection of three foundational sciences: neuroscience, psychology, and cultural sociology. each of which defines a subset of conditions that need to be met for something to make sense.
definition (Oxford Dictionaries)
any or all of the sciences, such as neurochemistry and experimental psychology, which deal with the structure or function of the nervous system and brain.
to understand humans, one needs to look at what makes them tick. which means you’ll need to know more about the place where decisions are taken: the brain – and the way it gets all our sensorial stimulations through the filters of its three driving forces: instinct, emotions, and reason. neuroscience helps us understand how our central nervous system deals with information. almost like a very well oiled and trained machine with usually one very simple task: keeping us alive.
the scientific study of the human mind and its functions, especially those affecting behavior in a given context.
biology is only one part of the full human decision-making spectrum. another important building block resides in putting things into context, and how our past experiences have conditioned us to act or react in specific ways.
over time, as we learn more and more through different experiences, we add to our knowledge database, tweak our behavior with new information and perspectives, and overall become wiser. but there is only so much newness and change we can cope with. so, very often, we accumulate most of it in the first part of our lifetime. making it look something like this.
the sociological study of the historical processes involved in cultural phenomena (such as art, philosophy, and religion).
while what makes sense is highly dependent on our internal processes, a lot of it also relies on the outside world and how in sync we are with it (e.g. social conventions, group dynamics, cultural codes). for example, it is normal for teenagers to feel like “the world is against them” as a lot of societal rules are being forced on them, while they have almost no power to influence it. and it will usually be so until they grow older and become part of the active society that sets the norm. until they are the ones directly shaping society. before they keep growing older and don’t anymore. which makes it look like this.
the imperfect overlap
this curve is based on average data for one single individual over their lifetime. what is interesting – and slightly mind-bending – is to use this curve to imagine if your 40-year old self could meet with your 15-year old and your 80-year old selves. it can explain why, even if you are literally talking to yourself, what each of those three selves say and think might not make sense to the others. just remember who you were, where you were, and what you were doing 10 years ago. were you the same person? were your thoughts the same? were you behaving the same way? most probably not. and I bet you can remember specific moments where you would think of yourself as silly, irrational or just awkward. which is totally normal. especially if what we just went through makes sense to you too.
this model is based on how three different dimensions of who you are overlap – or do not. in the case of your three selves (teenager you, grown-up you and senior you), here is what the overlap could look like.
your young self
15 years old
your grown-up self
40 years old
your senior self
80 years old
and this is only the tip of the iceberg. another aspect of this research is to identify what is shaped by different experiences or environments, and what is universal. what every human can make sense of, and what could cause for something not to.
let's do this!
so… what do you think? shall we go make some sense, together?