Skip to main content

BLOGS

Blogs are brief, to-the-point, conversational, and packed with information, strategies, and tips to turn troubled eaters into “normal” eaters and to help you enjoy a happier, healthier life. Sign up by clicking "Subscribe" below and they’ll arrive in your inbox. 

No unsolicited guest blogs are accepted, thank you!

Assimilation versus Accommodation

Assimilation-versus-Accommodation

Knowing the difference between the processes of assimilation and accommodation will help you make conscious, healthy choices rather than act on what might be your impulse to stay with old ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving. For example, a client had a cousin who’d recently changed sex from female to male. Sadly, my client was the only person in the family who supported and accepted this change. Her description of how she managed to get another relative to be more open-minded and accepting of their (now) nephew is a perfect example of how these psychological processes work.

According to Kendra Cherry, MSEd in What is Assimilation in Psychology?, “Assimilation is the cognitive process of making new information fit in with your existing understanding of the world. Essentially, when you encounter something new, you process and make sense of it by relating it to things that you already know. Through assimilation, we take in new information or experiences and incorporate them into our existing ideas.” 

That is, once we have a set of beliefs, it’s more comfortable and easier on the psyche for it to take in information that fits in with what we already believe—no work, no hassle—but it’s lazy, ineffective way to form a belief system and go through life.

Alternately, in accommodation, “old ideas are changed or even replaced based on new information.” This is what happened to my friend’s relative: she allowed my client’s ideas to shift her view of the situation, which caused her to change her mind to believe that her niece becoming her nephew was not such a bad thing after all.

“Assimilation and accommodation both work in tandem as part of the learning process. Some information is incorporated into our existing schemas through the process of assimilation, while other information leads to the development of new schemas or total transformations of existing ideas through the process of accommodation.” 

Consider what your goal is with new information: to keep it out at all cost because it causes unease or be open to changing your mind. Are you willing to allow new information to actually change your way of thinking, or do you hold onto old beliefs against all evidence to the contrary? Somehow, you gave up believing in Santa Claus, didn’t you? Think of other beliefs you gave up throughout your life. 

What’s so scary about the new changing our thinking? Isn’t that the whole point of life?