20 traps of consciousness that govern our lives and from which there is a way

There is such a thing as cognitive bias, which is the regularly recurring errors in thinking that are present in every person.

Some of them are not harmful at all, even harmless, but some lead to false judgments and a lack of rational thinking.

Let's talk today about such traps that our consciousness creates.

1. If a thought-form has already been formed once, then it remains very stable

In other words, if a person believes in something sincerely, then he will continue to adhere to his position, even if the reality is not quite what he imagines. Or if he was convinced of something.

For example, in 1975, scientists conducted an experiment in which students were asked to read suicide notes, some of which were written by real suicides, and some by ordinary people. They had to guess which notes were written by the real suicides.

Both groups of students coped with the task in about the same way, but one group was told that they guessed almost everything correctly, and the other that they were wrong about almost everything.

The most interesting thing is that later, when the deception was revealed to the students, and they were told that everyone coped about the same, those students who allegedly did better initially rated their skills much higher in subsequent tests.

2. It is difficult for people to change their minds even after they receive new data

One of the many experiments conducted to test this theory confirms everything. Groups of students received personal files from two firefighters, named George and Frank.

In addition to the biography, the results of the test "Ability to take risks" were filed in the personal file. Two groups of students were offered different versions of the dossier, in one Frank was a good firefighter, but preferred not to take risks, and in the second, Frank also did not take risks, but was a bad firefighter, who received several reprimands from the management.

After the students read the personal files, they were told that the information in the dossier was false. They were asked to share their own views on how a firefighter should take risk? In the end, the group that got a “good” deal on Frank said the firefighter shouldn't take risks, while the second group said the opposite.

3. A person argues for the sake of the dispute itself, for the sake of victory, and not in order to get to the bottom of the truth

Everyone knows that "the truth is born in a dispute." However, the very idea of ​​a dispute is not at all for that. Experts Dan Sperber and Hugo Mercier put forward an argumentation theory of reason, which suggests that people began to reason and argue in order to gain power and influence. In ancient times, losing an argument meant a decrease in one's chances of life, but modern man still argues to the last.

But today's society is also very dependent on disputes, because people are not able to stop arguing even when all the arguments are over, and the facts are against themselves. They do not stop arguing, since the dispute is a manipulation tool.

Scientists have come to the conclusion that the ability to ask questions, reason and offer answers did not appear at all in order to find the truth. A person has learned to reason in order to inspire something to others, and also to be attentive when someone tries to convince him of something.

When you once again go to ask Google if you were right in the dispute, and you will not find any confirmation of your words, then think, maybe you are just wrong, but you are not able to admit it.

4. Each of us has double standards

There is such a concept in psychology - a fundamental attribution error. It sounds rather cumbersome, but in reality it means a very simple thing: a person is inclined to condemn others, without delving into details and circumstances, and also justifying himself.

When another person makes a mistake, we explain this by their own peculiarities and problems, but when we make a mistake ourselves, external circumstances are to blame for everything.

For example, your colleague came to work very late, and even tipsy. What a nightmare, he is a real alcoholic who cannot control himself. If you are late and come drunk, then you have a difficult life period, and you need to be distracted.

Such a mistake leads to the fact that a person begins to believe that the circumstances are the same for everyone, so he begins to condemn people. For this reason, there is also the fact that people tend to judge overweight people.

But to someone who has never had problems with this, it seems as if the circumstances are exactly the same, and the person is simply lazy, because he does not want to lead a healthy lifestyle. In this case, neither metabolism, nor the possibility of personal choice, nor education, nor the availability of free time or other factors are taken into account. It’s crazy to think that everyone’s circumstances are the same, but everyone does it.

5. We perceive all information in relation to something else, compare the incomparable

In psychology, this is called the anchoring effect. In other words, at a subconscious level, we begin to compare any new information, and first of all numbers, with the one that we already know, and what we heard first has the most serious impact on us.

Suppose a person comes to get a job and discusses with the employer a possible salary. In this situation, the one who is the first to name a number will set the tone for the whole conversation. In the brains of the interlocutors, after the announced amount, the frames associated with the initial number will immediately appear, and everything that will be said after will be compared with this number.

Marketers really enjoy using this effect. For example, when a person comes to a clothing store, he begins to compare prices for different things with each other, but does not think about the price as such. For the same reason, some restaurants add very expensive dishes to the menu to make cheaper dishes look reasonable and attractive against their background.

Also, when a person is offered a choice of three options, in most cases he will choose the middle one, which will not be the most expensive, but also not the cheapest. Therefore, in fast food there are three options for the size of the drink.

6. We only trust people within our social group

In sociology, the following idea is very common: each of us divides people into groups, and most of all loves those who are in the same group with him, for example, friends, work colleagues and even people of the same skin color. This is in part due to the love molecule, the hormone oxytocin, which helps us connect at the brain level with the people we belong to.

Unfortunately, however, oxytocin has another side: we are afraid of people outside our group, we can treat them with suspicion and even despise. As a result, we overestimate our group, and give it too high a rating at the expense of those we know poorly. This social feature originated in antiquity, when people were divided into tribes.

7. We often generalize in situations where it is useless

If a person believes that some thing, which once turned out to be true, will be so automatically the next time, then he falls into a trap. If a seller from a store deceived you, this does not mean at all that all sellers will try to deceive you.

8. We like to follow the crowd because most people are right

Solomon Asha conducted quite a few experiments on this topic, and they all showed that each of us has a tendency to conformity. The researcher showed people this picture with four lines and was interested in which of the lines was as close as possible in length to line X. Everyone understands that this is line B.

Ash sent dummy ducks to people who called the wrong line. And, most interestingly, a third of the participants in the experiment succumbed to the wrong option, which was imposed on them by the majority.

A person is more likely to believe in something that someone else already believes. Hence come the forms of behavior and social norms that spread within the group. The tendency to follow the crowd is precisely the reason why opinion polls cannot be trusted, since their results have a direct impact on the thoughts of the people who are ultimately interviewed.

9. We remember the best about ourselves

A person is so constructed that he thinks only good about himself and remembers all the best. Sometimes we even embellish reality, but we don't even understand it. Daniel Kahneman, Nobel laureate, once said: “It's incredible how rarely a person changes his mind. But even when he does it, he does not realize it. After changing their minds, the overwhelming majority of people change their past way of thinking, subconsciously convincing themselves that they have always thought that way. "

10. Our brain believes that we are now and we in the future are different people

Research has shown that when a person thinks about himself in the future, areas in his brain that are responsible for our thoughts about other people begin to work. In other words, if you want to imagine yourself in 15 years, then your brain draws the image of some stranger.

A person with great difficulty thinks about the benefits for himself in the future, he wants to get benefits as soon as possible, even if less. For example, you will eat some junk food faster for instant gratification instead of thinking about your future health.

Human consciousness lives in the present moment, and we are used to postponing everything unpleasant for later. This phenomenon is of particular interest to economists (people do not know how to spend money wisely and save it) and, for obvious reasons, doctors.

One food-related study perfectly illustrates this thinking error. If a person plans what he will eat during the week, then in 74 percent of cases he will choose fruit. When he chooses what to eat right now, 70 percent of the time he takes chocolate.

11. We are trapped in positive expectations

It is common for gamblers to stay in this trap, because they are sure that after a series of failures, they will definitely win, and the next game will definitely bring them victory. The hot streak trap works in the same way.

12. We feel invulnerable

The essence of this trap is that a large number of different safety rules, as well as many protective devices, make a person feel invulnerable, and because of this, the risk of an accident is greatly increased.

For example, if you take a helmet or some other piece of equipment from a motorcyclist, he will probably ride more accurately than if you have everything.

13. IKEA Effect

We will always treat not the most beautiful socks knitted by a grandmother with warmth, however, in a regular store, we would not even look at such. This is a wonderful example of how the so-called IKEA effect manifests itself in a person's life, the essence of which is that a person attaches too much importance to things that were created by the hand of his loved ones or himself.

14. The magical effect of rhymed phrases

Surprisingly, when a person sees rhymed phrases, he perceives them deeper, considers them more truthful. Slogans that stick to the tongue have the same feature. For this reason, many companies use these techniques to make their ads memorable and their services and products recognizable.

15. Bad news rules the world

In most cases, a person pays much more attention to bad news, however, this does not mean that he has any deviations. Experts believe that a person, on a subconscious level, treats bad news as something more important.

Moreover, very often bad news inspires more confidence in a person, perhaps because good news seems to us not so interesting, and sometimes even suspicious.

16. We see frequency and different coincidences where they are actually missing

This phenomenon lies in the fact that a person sometimes begins to notice things that he did not pay attention to before (especially if he has something to do with them), and at the same time believes that these things have become somewhat more.

A classic example: a man bought a blue car, and now he sees blue cars everywhere. Or, for example, a person came up with some important number for himself, and now he thinks that this number is haunting him.

The point is that the vast majority of people simply do not realize that their thinking is trapped at that moment. They actually believe that something happens more often, and this is very confusing to them. When a person sees coincidences where there are none, his brain begins to look for non-existent repetitions and algorithms in the world around him.

17. We consider ourselves better than others

In one study, drivers were asked to compare their skills with the skills of other people driving. The overwhelming majority of the participants in the experiment said that the level of their skills is above average.

In most cases, a person values ​​themselves and their skills highly, regardless of what actually happens. But we tend to exaggerate our skills and the degree of mastery, and therefore evaluate ourselves biasedly.

18. We firmly believe in the swimmer illusion

The average person's idea of ​​training and talent is incredibly far from what it actually is. It seems to us that swimmers have athletic bodies due to the fact that they are constantly exercising and swimming. In fact, everything is different.

Absolutely anyone can learn to swim, but someone whose body proportions are conducive to swimming will become a professional. In other words, a good body in a swimmer is a result of selection, but not a result of sports.

This illusion appears when a person mixes the result and the selection factor.

Another good example. The best universities in the world actually train top-notch talent, or are they just picking the very best students who will do well regardless of the impact of the system? We often see things not as they really are.

19. We constantly think about what has already been lost

It doesn't matter at all how much these or those expenses cost you, we will still be drawn to them.

Sunk waste includes both money and wasted time and effort. A person cannot ignore the costs, because on a subconscious level he feels the loss deeper than the benefit.

We often spend a lot more energy on minimizing danger than on maximizing our capabilities. For this reason, the prospect of loss is a stronger motivating factor than the potential for profit.

The delusion that shrouds sunk losses only amplifies the impact of loss on benefits. The following experiment is a prime example of this.

Scientists asked the participants in the experiment to imagine that they bought a good ski trip for $ 100, and a little later they saw an offer for a better and cheaper trip for $ 50. However, as it turned out later, the travel times are the same, but the ticket cannot be returned. What do you think the vast majority of people have chosen? A normal ride for $ 100 or a great vacation for $ 50?

People chose the more expensive trip. She did not promise to be as good, but in her case, the costs are much more tangible. Therefore, the sunk cost trap destroys all logic, the person makes irrational decisions that are based solely on emotions.

This trap makes it difficult to understand that a good choice is a better outcome in the future, not a reduction in past losses. However, it is difficult to hide from this trap, because it is a subconscious process.

You need to learn to separate what is now from what happened in the past. For example, suppose you bought a ticket to a movie to realize that it was terrible. Instead, you could get up and leave the movie, or stay home and watch a really good movie, since you've already spent your money on your ticket.

20. We justify ourselves for purchases that turned out to be unnecessary

Each of us has probably returned from the store with unplanned purchases at least once, justifying the purchase by the fact that it is actually worthwhile. You probably didn’t want to buy it, because the thing is too expensive or you just don’t need it.

But one way or another, you decide that you really need this useless and luxurious thing. On the face of rationalization after the purchase. This phenomenon is also called Stockholm syndrome, the cause of which lies in the psychology of language.

Psychologists argue that this response of a person to a sense of duty, he wants to remain consistent in order to avoid a state of internal discomfort and conflict. Internal conflict is called cognitive dissonance, and a person experiences it when he tries to combine two incompatible theories or ideas.

For example, you consider yourself a good and kind person, but suddenly a stranger fell in front of you, and you did not stop to help him. And here comes a conflict of views: you are good and kind, but not in relation to falling strangers. This state of affairs causes some discomfort, and you begin to think differently in order to justify your behavior. As a result, you come to the conclusion that since you did not help the person who fell, then you are not so kind.

In the case of impulse purchases, the person must rationalize them in order to convince himself that he should have bought it. Then his thoughts coincide with what he did (bought).

Now it is necessary to learn one very important human trait - to think before doing something in order to avoid necessarily subsequent rationalization. Before making a purchase, decide for yourself whether you really need this thing, and whether you will then look for excuses in front of yourself for purchasing it.