5 mental mistakes that lead you from making the right decisions


For a long time researchers and economists believed that people always make logical, careful decisions. However, over the past decade, scientists have discovered a wide range of mental mistakes, which undermined the reputation of our thinking.
From time to time we are able to make the right decisions, but in most cases you do weird, irrational choice, based on their emotions. There is published an article describing the five most common mental mistakes that prevent us constantly to make decisions.
1. Systematic error survivors
Today, almost all popular online media is full of systematic errors, the survivors (eng. survivorship bias). Headlines like “8 things successful people do every day”, “the Best advice that ever got Richard Branson” or “How LeBron James trains in the offseason” is a survivor bias in action.
Systematic errors relate to the survivors of our tendency to focus on winners in any particular region and learn from them, completely forgetting about the losers who used the same strategy.
There are thousands of athletes who train just like LeBron James, but they are unable to make it to the NBA. The problem is that no one heard about those thousands of athletes who are unable to get to the top. We only hear about the people who “survived”. We erroneously overestimate the strategy, tactics and tips one survivor, ignoring the fact that they do not work for most people. Another example: “Richard Branson, bill gates and mark Zuckerberg dropped out of school and became billionaires! You don’t need school to succeed. Entrepreneurs just need to stop to spend time to study and do business”.
For every Branson, gates and Zuckerberg hopes for a few thousand other entrepreneurs who failed, got into debt and left with an unfinished education. Systematic error survivors say that we don’t know how a particular strategy will manifest itself concretely in our case. Because the winners are often remembered, and generally forget about the losers, it becomes very difficult to determine whether the success of a particular strategy or not.
2. The fear of loss
The fear of loss (eng. loss aversion refers to our tendency to strongly avoid losses on the way to acquire profit. The results show that if someone will give You $ 10, You will experience a small increase in satisfaction. But if You lose $ 10, you will experience a much higher loss of satisfaction. Yes, the opposite reaction, but they are equal in magnitude.
Our tendency to avoid losses leads us to make stupid decisions and change their behavior only in order to preserve those things that we already have. We are committed to protecting things that are, and this can cause us to be too to overestimate their, compared to other possible options.
For example, if You buy new shoes, it will bring You a small boost of pleasure. If You have never been able to wear these shoes and decided to sell them after a few months, then this step is likely to be incredibly painful. You never wore them, but for some reason can’t part with them. The fear of loss. Similarly, You may feel a little bit of joy, when on the way to work all the lights will light for You green light, but if the driver of the car in front of You will hesitate and You will miss the opportunity to slip on a green light, then You will embrace the feelings of anger. The pain of losing is much stronger than the pleasure that arose at the beginning.
3. The availability heuristic
The availability heuristic (eng. availability heuristic) — this is a very common mistake that our brains do, suggesting that the examples easily come to mind are the most important or prevalent things.
The results of a study conducted by Steven Pinker of Harvard University, showed that we live in the least violent time in human history. Today a lot more people living in the world than ever. The number of murders, rapes, sexual harassment and ill-treatment of children was declining steadily. Many people are surprised when they hear these statistics. Some still refuse to believe in them. If we live in the most peaceful time in history then why in the world there is so many wars right now? Why every day we hear the news that somewhere someone was killed or raped? Why so often there are acts of terrorism and destruction? Welcome to the availability heuristic.
The answer lies in the fact that we live in a world where every event becomes known to all. Information about any disaster or crime is widely available as never before. Go online and You will find so much information about the recent events as unlikely to be fit in a single issue of the newspaper a hundred years ago.
The total percentage of dangerous events is reduced, but the likelihood is that You will hear about them increases. And because information about these events is always available, our brain believes that they occur with greater frequency than it really is. We overestimate the influence of what we remember, and underestimate the prevalence of events, about which we heard nothing.
The effect of linking (anchors)
Near my house there is a fast food restaurant where they sell really tasty burgers with cheese. The menu stated in big letters: “FOR ONE BURGER, you CAN CHOOSE up to 6 TYPES of CHEESE”.
My first thought: this is absurd. Who wants to order a Burger with six types of cheese?
Second thought: what are the six types of cheese I would choose?
I wondered what brilliant are the owners of the cafe, until then, until he learned about the effect of anchor (or anchors; eng. anchoring). You see, ordering a Burger here, I usually chose one type of cheese. But after I read the menu FOR ONE BURGER, you CAN CHOOSE up to 6 TYPES of CHEESE, my brain attached to what you can order more cheese than usual.
Most people aren’t going to order six types of cheese, however, this binding is enough to make one piece go to two or three, thus increasing the cost of a Burger for a couple bucks.
This effect is often used in the commercial sphere. For example, businessmen have discovered that if you set a limit, for example, 12 pieces of product in hands”, people will buy twice more than usual.
But perhaps the most common area where is applied the effect of binding, is the pricing. If You see on the watch in the store price tag of $ 500, we would consider them to be too expensive for your budget. However, if, going to the store, You will first see a $ 5,000 watch, and then over 500, then the price of the past will seem quite reasonable. Most products premium play a very important role: they allow the products of medium price range to seem cheaper than it really is.
5. The tendency to confirm our point of view
The tendency to confirm our point of view (eng. confirmation bias) is a tendency to search for or give preference to information that confirms our beliefs, and to ignore or discount the fact that they contradict.
For example, a Person, And believes that climate change is a serious problem, so he’s looking for and reads only articles and books about environmental conservation, climate change and renewable energy. As a result, the Man, And continues to confirm and reinforce their current beliefs.
In turn, Person B does not believe that climate change is a serious problem, therefore, searches for and reads only those materials in which climate change is referred to as a myth. As a result, Person B continues to confirm and reinforce their current beliefs.
Change your point of view is not as easy as it seems. The longer You believe in something, the more you ignore and filter all the opposite information. Another example. If You have just purchased a Honda Accord, believing it to be the best car on the market, then, of course, will read only those articles that praise the car. Meanwhile, if You’re in a magazine you run across the information that the car of the year was selected, for example, a Chevrolet Impala, You will reject it, deem it a mistake or find any other excuse.
Most people don’t want new information, they tend to confirm what I already know.
After reading this article, You have question: how to make the brain not to make these mistakes?
For starters do not think of them as a sign that Your brain is not working properly. Think of them as evidence that the labels used by the brain, does not always bear a favor. There are many areas of everyday life where mental processes mentioned above are incredibly useful, so don’t get rid of them. The problem is that our brain performs so good these functions that we, ultimately, use them in the situations in which they manifest themselves negatively. In such cases self-awareness is one of the best solutions to the problem.

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