Invalid Attributions: The Blue Nose Fallacy
The typical argumentative scenario in a relationship is for an accusation to be made and then for a defensive reaction to occur. One partner accuses the other of a transgression and the other partner reacts in a defensive and accusatory manner. Dependent upon the duration of the relationship much history may be known and that historical information can be used to attack the other partner. The defensive reaction by the other partner usually leads to an escalation of intensity. The couple then continues with increased viciousness and at its worse can lead to domestic violence. Often the accusatory comments are not accurate but do have sufficient content to hit an emotional nerve of the accused partner. Often the accusations take the form of ”you…..” statements such as “you don’t love me” or “you…” have committed a certain action that didn’t occur in the way depicted. The simple solution to these false attributions is to not react and to not get defensive. This is easier said than done. What can be done is to reframe the accusation into a fallacy paradigm of “Blue Nose.” If most people were accused of having a ”Blue Nose,“ the comment would be deflected, minimized or even laughed off due to the attribution being false. Attention to the “Blue Nose” fallacy allows for minimal or no defensiveness. Escalation can be prevented. Opportunities for differentiated “I” responses are then available.