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The Story of Regan the Piano Player: The 4 Stages of Evaluative Thought Processes

Evaluative Thinking is a cognitive process that uses context to form beliefs in the mind of the subject.  In layman’s terms, an occurrence beyond our control can be interpreted by our minds in many ways, but this process states that there are possible 4 Stages for which our brain can process.

Consider the pianist Regan performing during her concert.  One certain event occurs (an audience member yawns) and within the Evaluative Thought Process, Regan has 4 alternatives to consider:

  1. Fact: “While I was playing the piano, someone yawned”. This is an accurate description of what happened. It offers no other information than the truth. It is accepted as such by our brain.
  2. Interpretation: “While I was playing the piano, soeone yawned… they must have been bored”. There is no evidence to support the interpretation. Regan certainly doesn’t know why the person yawned, but that’s how she’s chosen to interpret it and consequently it becomes “her truth”.
  3. Inference: “While I was playing the piano, someone yawned, because they were bored…with my piano playing.” Here Regan goes beyond the information available, and starts to make an inference. Notice the difference between the interpretation and the inference. Now it’s personal – now it’s about her ability to play the piano.
  4. Evaluation: “While I was playing the piano, someone yawned…because they were bored…with my piano playing…because I’m a very poor piano player”. Regan has involved herself by taking responsibility for someone else’s behavior in a way that simply doesn’t serve her. Her observations are tainted by a belief that colors her beliefs.

There is a possibility that the human brain can believe certain assumptions are taken that are not in evidence.  Whenever you doubt yourself or the value of an experience, the question to ask yourself is: is this the fact and reality of the situation, or just what I choose to believe about it?  The importance lies within our belief process to focus on the truth…..

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