A Cognitive Analysis of “The Office” Season 3: Episode 21.

In another installment of everyone’s favorite show to binge-watch, we have “Women’s Appreciation.” Phyllis(Phyllis Smith), enters the aforementioned office in duress, visibly distressed after having been flashed in the parking lot. Dwight(Rainn Wilson) decides to hunt down the “suspect”, whereas Micheal(Steve Carell) claims that the women of the office need to be more appreciated as a whole due to the ordeal.

Well-Defined Problem – “Have specific goals, clearly defined solution paths, and clear expected solutions.”, is the exact opposite of how i would describe Dwight’s execution of trying to catch the culprit, and manages to fall into the Sunk Cost Fallacy. The Sunk Cost Fallacy is the fallacy that investments justify further expenditures. Dwight attaches barbed wire to the top of an 8-foot fence, puts posters all around the office and surrounding block, and surveys the parking lot every 30 minutes to an hour to check for the flasher. However, a good example of a Well-Defined problem is a scene that happens halfway through the episode, Michael is confronted with the reality that he is in a caustic relationship. Upon this realization, and with the help of his female coworkers, he writes a list of pros and cons of remaining in this relationship, and the negatives and positives of breaking it off, with the intention of deciding upon the latter.

While Dwight is on his man hunt, he questions the rest of the office for more information of the vagrant in question. When asking Phyllis for further info, he accidentally refers to her as Phallus, a prime example of a type of error in speech: Substitution – “ One segment is replaced by an intruder. The source of the intrusion is not in the sentence.” Dwight had no intention of saying the phrase, it just happened to slip(perhaps a Freudian one). Finally, at the end of the episode Dwight notices that an eyewitness report hand drawn by the office secretary, is a very slightly altered picture of himself, displaying a very slight and acute case of prosopagnosia of the self.