11 “traps” of consciousness that do not allow us think rationally

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The human brain is able to perform 1016 operations per second. This means that its power is still higher than the power of any existing computer. But this is not at all means that there are no limits to the capabilities of our brain. The simplest calculator will do the calculations much better and faster, and memory is often unreliable. Plus, we tend to fall into the traps of their own consciousness, which then cause us to make dubious decisions and make false conclusions. In this article, we talk about eleven such traps. or, scientifically, “cognitive bias”:

Confirmation bias

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We love to agree with people who agree with us. That is why we mainly visit forums where they gather people who share our political views and communicate with people, tastes and judgments which are similar to ours.

We don’t like individuals, groups of people or sites, which make us doubt our own righteousness – psychologist B. Skinner called this phenomenon “cognitive dissonance.”

This selectivity leads to a “bias confirmation” – we often subconsciously perceive only the information that “feed” our already existing judgments, ignoring or rejecting everything that conflicts with them and threatens to destroy the familiar for us the image of the world. The Internet, by the way, only strengthens this a trend.

Intra-group bias

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Intra-group bias is a phenomenon similar to bias confirmation, which was discussed above. This is a manifestation our innate need to “feel part collective. ”

Strange enough, but this need is related to the hormone oxytocin – the so-called “love molecule”. This neurotransmitter, on the one hand, helps us to create close ties with each other, on the other, it produces the opposite effect in relation to those who remained out of our “circle”. He makes us suspicious, inspires fear and even arrogance towards strangers.

In the end, intragroup bias leads to reassessing the abilities and values ​​of our own group and underestimation of those about whom we, in essence, have no representation.

Player Error

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This tendency to attach great importance to already completed events, the belief that they can somehow affect our future. A classic example is tossing a coin. If five times tails fall in a row, the probability that the next eagle falls in our consciousness is increasing. In fact, she still remains 50/50.

The “positive expectation” trap works in much the same way, inherent to gamers. It seems to them that after several losses luck just SHOULD turn to face them and the next game will bring them a huge jackpot. Misconception works the same way. relative to the “lucky strip”.

Post-shopping rationalization

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Each of us can recall at least one case when after buying something unnecessary, idle or prohibitively expensive tried to convince himself that “it was worth it anyway.” That’s what it is “post-shopping rationalization” – built into our minds a program through which we can feel somewhat better after we do some obvious stupidity.

This phenomenon is also known as shopping. Stockholm Syndrome “- a subconscious desire for whatever began to find an excuse for an unreasonable purchase – especially if it It was very expensive.

Neglect of probability

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Very few of us are afraid to get into a car, but most can admit to being in awe when rises aboard the plane. Flight, no doubt completely unnatural state for a person and causes associations with danger.

At the same time, almost everyone knows that probability die in a car accident many times more than in plane crash. And yet, our brain refuses to perceive this connection (statistically a chance to die while traveling by car – 1/84, on the plane – 1/5000). The same phenomenon makes us afraid to die at the hands of terrorists, and not think about much more real danger – fall from the stairs or accidentally poison, eg.

Observation Selectivity

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Selective observation is when we suddenly start everywhere. notice something new for us. It seems to us that this is “something” with at a certain moment began to haunt us, while in reality before it simply eluded our attention.

Example: you buy a new car and from that moment you start see the same cars around and everywhere. The same thing happens with pregnant women who suddenly begin to notice around themselves a large number of other pregnant women. It could be some kind of song or rarely used expression. Whatever it is the reason is not that a particular phenomenon has begun to occur more often, but that you began to pay attention to him more often. From here there is confidence that the similarity of any events or phenomena “cannot be a coincidence” (although in fact a very can).

Negativity effect

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Man tends to pay more attention to bad news – and this does not mean the presence of psychological deviations. Scientists believe that we subconsciously perceive bad news as more important. Also bad news arouse more trust in us – perhaps because we are good seem too suspicious (or boring).

Writer and psychologist Stephen Pinker, for example, proves in his book that crimes, cruelties and wars on the planet gradually getting smaller and smaller, although most people believe that the situation is only getting worse from year to year – an ideal example how does the effect of negativity.

Craze effect

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We love to move with the crowd, although we may not be aware. When people around us choose a favorite, then part of our brain, which is responsible for the individual, is turned off. we we fall into a state of peculiar “group thinking”.

For example, a thing that most of your colleagues will consider “cool”, has the best chance of becoming the subject of desire and for you. Well, or in sports – if most of your surroundings rooting for any team, it’s very difficult not to give in to the general passion

Transfer effect

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It is a tendency to think that other people think the same way we do. Related to this effect is a similar “false consensus” effect – unreasonable confidence that those around us by default agree.

The transfer effect is our reevaluation of our own “normality” and “typicality.” For example, often people entering into radical associations live with the belief that outside their group many people share their beliefs, although such may not be at all to be.

Current effect

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We hardly correlate “ourselves today” with “tomorrow”, therefore, we often allow ourselves to do what we like today, leaving those who we will be blown away for this fleeting pleasure then. “During a study conducted in 1998, for example, 74% of buyers, choosing food for a week, chose healthy fruits. And when they were asked to make a choice for the current day, then their hands were 70% participants in the experiment reached for chocolate.

Anchor effect

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This effect is also called the “comparison trap.” He is associated with our propensity to compare numbers (in order to orient) this out of focus their true value. Actively focusing on this sellers use.

A classic example is a product on sale. We see on the tag two prices and evaluate the difference between them, not the prices themselves. If the “discount” significant, it impresses us, even if the goods on actually too expensive and at a discount.

Restaurants also use this reception – they include in the menu prohibitively expensive dishes, so that the price of others, in comparison with them, seemed quite reasonable. For the same reason, when making a choice, we often just choose something average – not too expensive, but not the most cheap.

Sveta Gogol


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