What's the term for when it's impossible for someone to understand the possible interpretations of something because they already know what it means. I remember hearing what it was a while ago so I know there is one.

Basically, if someone is predisposed to only see something a certain way because that was what was originally in their head, so they can't see it the way other people do, not because they're being closed minded but it's almost like a perception bias.

Take a picture that can be seen certain ways, like that duck/rabbit 'illusion'. If I told you that what I made was a duck and all you ever can see is a duck, then if someone with a fresh perspective see's a rabbit then the duck seeing person will think they're wrong. The person who see's a duck might be right, but it doesn't mean that the person who sees a rabbit is a complete moron. I want to use this term to describe User Interface interaction and how even though it can be developed appropriately it might be easy for users to intuit interaction differently and thus making it difficult to adapt to the UI developers design


2 Answers 2


I'm not sure if this is an exact answer, but several topics come to my mind to describe this phenomena, mainly these ones:

  1. Expertise (e.g. Expertise reversal effect),
  2. Schemas and mindsets,
  3. Availability heuristic (or other biases and fallacies that influence expectations).

It might depend on the aspect or scientific field from which you want to describe it. For example, there might also be some learning-based justifications from neuroscience perspective (e.g. reinforcement learning models for synaptic plasticity).

  • $\begingroup$ availability heuristic or Availability bias seems along the lines of what I'm trying to find. Thank you for this, I've thought about it every now and then for like 2 years but could never remember what it was. thumbs up $\endgroup$
    – DMW
    Aug 11, 2016 at 5:57
  • $\begingroup$ And there is also some "confirmation bias" that you always want to confirm what you already know by simply rejecting new facts. It's creepy but ubiquitous ;-) $\endgroup$
    – Morty
    Aug 18, 2016 at 18:57

Maybe you are looking for the curse of knowledge:

The curse of knowledge is a cognitive bias that occurs when, in predicting others' forecasts or behaviors, individuals are unable to ignore the knowledge they have that others do not have, or when they are unable to disregard information already processed.


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