science

Gray Cardinal: how the brain deceives you every day

Our mind seems to be one of the most well-established and well-functioning systems. On the one hand, yes, it is. On the other hand, we can also agree with this, if we take for an ideal mechanism the errors and brain traps into which we fall every day without even noticing it. But, of course, I wanted our machine, consisting of gray matter, to work unmistakably. Therefore, we will tell you how your brain deceives you every day and how this can be avoided.

Why is this happening?

In fairness, it is worth noting that human nature was originally built in such a way that it disposed to brain traps. That is, it is not your fault if you continue to make mistakes, – all boldly fell on genetics. An interesting version of the Nobel laureate in economics Daniel Kahneman, who tried to explain the emergence of traps of our mind. He singled out two processes of human thinking, which, in spite of, it seems, similar functions, still work in different ways. The first is responsible for processing data, questions, getting quick answers. This process is often called intuition. But if this type of thinking cannot cope with its task, it turns to its partner, as if sending it a question that has come to the brain for additional processing. Also if the second thinking approves of the actions of the first, then it all automatically turns into human beliefs, which almost do not change. All this is aimed at ensuring that the brain is not too overloaded, and energy – saved. But we know that saving is not always the best solution. Because of the stinginess and simplification of our decisions, we fall into the traps of our own brain.

Effect of importance

There are many problems in the world: ecology is deteriorating, glaciers are melting, species of rare animals are dying out, people in Africa are not living well and so on. But in fact, not all problems concern you personally, and, therefore, the importance that you give them is one big fake. The brain has deceived you. How? This effect or illusion occurs in the mind of a person if he has already heard about this or that problem more than once. Therefore, people are so easily influenced by the media, who not only create the agenda themselves, but immediately adapt to their audience. Why does this work? You have repeatedly come across such a case: you have learned something new for yourself, and now you notice it in everything, wondering how you did not pay attention to it before. And once the brain clings to some thing, which, as it turned out, is everywhere, your opinion about it changes, transferring an object to the category of important, because everyone is talking about it. Adjusting your thinking in this way, you will fall 100% into a hole that your main assistant has dug for you.

The effect of “cause-effect”

Our brain, of course, loves something not very clear and accessible to logical explanation. Therefore, since ancient times, people have been drawn to mysticism, religion and the like, which over the centuries has been transformed by those in power into a method of control. But it is even more pleasant for reason to build relationships of cause and effect, because no one has canceled logic. It is already if something cannot be explained with its help, then it is possible to blame it on mysticism. But it is worth noting that two types of our thinking are manifested in this effect in different ways. The first type receives a request from the outside world, which is called the cause, forwarding it to the second, so that it already establishes the result following from it. As we have said, the work of the brain is built mostly on simplification. Therefore, some random coincidences are interpreted by us as patterns. For example, over the years, the terrible game of our national football team has become, in our perception, an ordinary thing, and a worthy performance at the last World Cup is an accident. Although it is quite possible that everything is just the opposite.

Effect of availability

In our age, information has become so accessible, and the search for it is easy that it has euthanized our vigilance. As practice shows, if you quickly receive an answer to your request, and you don’t have to search for it for a long time and it occurs more than once, then most likely you will believe it. Also, your critical thinking falls asleep at those moments when you are in a good mood, and the level of gullibility and perception increases. However, often easily obtained and correct, at first glance, information is not always the case. A simple example: it is proved that flying on an airplane is much safer than traveling by train. But after reviewing the news feeds, you saw several reports of plane crashes, and there is not a word about incidents in the field of railways. Consequently, your instinct tells you that it will be safer to go by train, although this is not so.

Substitution effect

Another brain trap, which, in theory, always helps us out, is an associative array. Again, it is connected with the simplification of thinking and saving time. The principle of operation of the two types of reason remains the same: if the first type cannot find a quick answer to a question, then send it to his friend, who does not bother him too much, working through the request using analogies and associations. For example, they ask you if you like your life. And, instead of thoroughly thinking about it, your brain corrects the question asked, adding to it the phrase “recently”. You start to remember the events that happened with you in, say, the last month of the event, answering the question in the affirmative or negative, based on what happened to you. But this assessment is unlikely to be objective and close to the truth.

Precedence effect

This principle once again proves that many of us are not inherent in independent thinking, as we would like to think. Our brain is influenced by, and not everyone is able to resist. How does the mind lure us into this trap? During the most common conversation, the words of your interlocutor rearrange the work of your brain, which clings to what has been said, changing the final version of what you would like to convey to the person. Because of this, we often make a reservation. How does this happen? Here is a common example: during a conversation, the name of your friend was uttered, which is not there. The brain clings to this information, triggering in the corners of the subconscious recent information associated with it. And, turning to the interlocutor, you can accidentally call him by the name of a friend who has emerged in the head, since the brain did not have time to change from one wave to another. By the way, the effect of priming experienced manipulators can carry on a conversation as they want, but you will not even notice.

How to get around these traps?

First of all, you need to train logical and critical thinking. This, of course, will not replace the two types we have mentioned, but it will make your life much easier. This will help not to make hasty conclusions from the replicated information. This will also improve your work on developing causal relationships. You will see them not as your brain wants, but as it really is. And remember: that which may be important for the whole world is not really so. Learn to find the right priorities, without fear of going against the majority. Individualists achieve great success – you know it yourself.