10 traps in our thinking and how to protect your mind from errors

April 24, 2012 17:17

10 traps in our thinking and how to protect your mind from errorsOur mind is always ready weight traps and snares for us. If we are not aware of them, these traps can seriously damage our ability to think rationally, leading us in the wrong area of reasoning and foolish decisions. Those of our quality that assist us in choosing the path of reasoning, it appears, lead us to the problems.

Now you will learn about the first 10 most dangerous traps and how to how to avoid them.

1. Retarding trap
over-reliance on the first thought

"Exceeds Does Turkey's population, 35 million people? Do you think what is the population of Turkey? '.

The researchers asked the question a group of individuals, and the population estimates of almost all participants significantly exceeded the number of 35 million.

Then the question was posed to the second group, but this time the starting number was 100 million. While both numbers were selected at random, estimates of the total population of Turkey "100 Million" group were, without exception, respectively, higher than in the "35 millionth" group.

That is, those who were asked first about 35 million, and then asked to estimate the population of Turkey, gave answers about the numbers 35 million, while those who are first asked about the 100 million naming of about 100 million.

(For those interested: just in Turkey, home to about 78 million people).

Moral: starting, the original information can have a major impact on all further process your thinking: initial impressions, ideas, estimates or data can be "anchored" to slow down the next thought.

This trap is particularly dangerous because it is deliberately used in many situations, such as, for example, experienced salespeople, who first show us a more expensive product, "anchored" the price in our subconscious.

How to work with it:
Always consider the problem from different points of view
Do not focus on the original, the starting point. Work with your problem before you jump to a decision.

Reflect on their own, do not hurry to consult with others. Get as much data as possible and make more conclusions yourself, before you will fall under the influence of "anchors" of other people.

Use as many sources for information. Collect more opinions on this and expand the boundaries of research. Not limited to a single point of view.

2. Trap Status Quo
the desire to preserve the order of things

In one experimental group were randomly distributed gifts: half of the participants received a decorative mug, the other half — the big tile Swiss chocolate.

Then they were told that they can easily exchange one gift to another. Logic tells us that at least half the members must be dissatisfied with the gift and wish to exchange it, but in fact only 10% of the participants made it!

We tend to act according to well-established patterns of behavior, if we do not receive positive incentives, entices us to change these patterns. Status quo automatically takes precedence over any other options.

How to work with it:
Think of the status quo as just another possible scenarios. Do not allow yourself to get into the flow of thoughts, enthrall you against their traditional way of thinking of other people. Ask yourself, would you choose your current situation, if it was not the status quo.

Be clear their goals. Objectively assess the situation and clearly realize, is whether the current situation to achieve your goals.

Do not exaggerate the severity of the effort required to reach your goals. Often, these efforts actually not as great as we tend to assume.

3. The trap of sunk costs
protection of earlier decisions

Have you booked a ticket to a football match, without the right of return. And now comes the evening, which is assigned a game, and you're tired and deadly raging storm outside. You already regret that bought the ticket because, frankly, you're much more likely to stay at home, lit a fire and comfortably would watch the game on TV. What to do?

Maybe it's hard to accept, but in this case, to stay at home — the best option. Money for the ticket will not return, no matter which option, in the end, would you prefer: this is a sunk cost, and should not influence your decision.

How to work with it:
Do not be afraid to make mistakes. Understand why the recognition of earlier mistakes knocks you off track. No one is immune from mistakes, so do not do from this tragedy — better try to extract lessons learned from their mistakes in the future!

Listen to the opinions of people who were not involved in the decision-old, erroneous decisions. Find people emotionally independent of previous decisions and ask their opinion.

Focus on the goal. We make decisions, keeping in mind some goals. Do not get attached to a particular series of actions that lead to these goals, always consider the best opportunity to achieve their goals.

4. Trap confirmation
when we accept wishful

Do you feel that the dollar will soon fall, and now is the time to sell dollars. To verify their assumptions, you call a friend who has just sold dollars to find out the cause.

Congratulations, you are caught up in the need for confirmation: searching for information, which, in your opinion, is likely to confirm that you own the original assumption — and at the same time avoiding the media that challenge your expectations.

This distorted perception of reality not only affects where you will find the necessary facts, but also on how you interpret the data: we are much less critical of the arguments supporting our initial beliefs, and resist the facts contradict it.

No matter how objective we ourselves believe, when we receive our original decision, our brain — intuitively — we immediately switch to alternatives, making us almost always to question his primary option.

How to work with it:
Work with contradictory information. Examine carefully all the facts. Do not neglect the data contradict your original beliefs. Clearly imagine, what you aim: to find an alternative or calm themselves, confirming their primary assumptions!

Stand by time of "devil's advocate" (devil's advocate — panelist deliberately defending a position which does not stick to itself, in order to provoke a more active discussion and identify all the possible drawbacks to the opposite point of view).

Organize a discussion with someone whose opinion you value, against the decision that you were initially inclined to accept. If you do not have such a person, building themselves enjoy a rebuttal. Always conscientiously studied the opposing points of view (assuming, by the way, in the account of the other pitfalls that await your thoughts about which we are talking about here.)

Do not ask leading questions.
When referring to someone for advice, ask neutral questions to avoid simply confirming your other point of view. The question "What do I do with the dollars?" Better than "Should I sell dollars as quickly as possible?"

5. Trap incomplete information
reconsider your assumption

Ivan — introvert (introvert). We know that it is either a librarian or a seller. Where is he, in your opinion, is the most likely to?

Of course, here there is a great temptation to immediately decide that he — a librarian. Well, in fact, are not we used to think of sellers rather brusque, if not brash personalities? However, such a study may be fundamentally wrong (or, at least, inaccurate.)

Such a conclusion would ignore the fact that the sellers exceed the librarians in the amount of about 100 to 1. Before we examined traits Ivan, we have only a 1% probability that he is a librarian. (This means that even if all librarians — introverts, the introverts among sellers, at least 1%, which increases the chances of Ivan has to be the seller.)

This is just a small example of how the neglect of a simple element of the available data can guide our discussion in a completely wrong direction.

How to work with it:
Be clear about the assumptions. Do not take the problem as it looks at first sight. Remember that for every problem, you first use the implicit, ie implied, express information — your own assumptions. In fact is not so difficult to check the accuracy of their beliefs, but you have to clear idea.

Always prefer the evidence simplistic mind stamps. Our prejudices — such as stereotypes — can be useful in many situations, but we must always be on guard not to overestimate them. If you have a choice, always give preference to the facts.

6. Trap solidarity
Everybody does it

In a series of experiments, the researchers asked students in classrooms rather simple questions, and, quite naturally, most of the students gave correct answers.

In another group, they asked the same questions, but this time in the role of students were actors, were responsible intentionally false. Since then many more students were to answer these questions correctly, based on the example set by the assistant researchers.

This "herd instinct" — in varying degrees — is available to all. Even when we are desperately trying not to recognize the actions of others affect us greatly.

We are afraid to look stupid, when we fail, along with many others, this is not considered shameful, but when we fail in splendid isolation, all the bumps for the errors fall down on us. We are always under pressure from members of the community, group ownership, aimed at trying to make us look like at all.

This trend has to be like, and it is notoriously successfully used in advertising. We often sell goods not for his valuable qualities, and for the way he is popular, if all together, en masse to buy it, why should not I join them?

Gregarious solidarity as one of the reasons why so if a book topped the bestseller lists, the "tightly" and permanently. Because people prefer to buy what they buy "everything."

How to work with it:
Reduce the influence of others. After analyzing the information, free of the opinions of other people — that's the first thing to do. This is the best way to make a decision without being subject to the subconscious influence of popular trends.

Beware of the "social care"
Always sound an alarm when someone tries to convince you of something, arguing persistence mainly popular subject matter, and not the real value.

Have courage.
Be firm in his intention to overcome the pressure of outsiders and defend their point of view, despite its unpopularity. Do not be afraid to point out that the emperor is naked!

7. Trap the illusion of control
Shot in the Dark

Have you noticed that the vast majority of lottery players prefer to choose their own numbers, rather than use the "Auto Select", which sometimes offers automatic (ie button, choose the numbers for you)? Approx. it comes to lotteries abroad.

Everyone knows that in whatever way we may choose the number, the chance of winning is not reduced, so why is among the players as persisting desire to choose their own numbers?

Curiously, even in the situation that we are totally unable to control, we still have an irrational belief that they can influence the outcome. We just like to feel that the situation is under our control.

Of course, the easiest way to illustrate this trap by the example of gambling, but the tendency to overestimate their ability to control the situation has an impact on almost every aspect of our daily lives.

Unfortunately, in contrast to the example of the game of lottery, above, the consequences of the decisions we make in real life, are complex and interrelated. Always difficult to assess the extent to which we are responsible for the results, which can then obtain.

While some of the effects are obviously the result of our own decisions, others, no doubt, remain beyond the capabilities of our direct control.

How to work with it:
Understand that randomness is an essential part of life
Although it is difficult to imagine, let alone recognize, many things happen on occasion — in the sense that they do not depend on your efforts.

Take responsibility for those things that you really can influence, but remember that in many cases there is little you can change. How presumptuous to expect that the situation will be subservient to your control, better consciously consider their actions in case any of its development.

Beware of prejudice.
Think about how often your decisions are based on the premise that you can not explain. Make it the implicit explicit and subject to careful scrutiny — instead unreasonably hope to control what you do not understand.

8. Trap belief in coincidence
discuss the theory of probability

John Riley (John Riley) — a legend. He won the lottery, which was one chance in a million — twice! But the probability of this event is one in a trillion, that means one of two things — either a lottery — it is a show and sell, or John came to the attention Lady Luck. Do you agree?

In fact, neither one nor the other. Let's do simple problem: if in a few years in 1000 to win the lottery will continue to play and will play at least 100 times, trying to repeat the "miracle" of winning, there is not such a slight chance — 10% — that someone from They will succeed.

This means that the "miracle" is not only possible — if some effort — its probability increases to the level of inevitability.

Another classic example: in a group of 23 randomly selected people at least one pair has the same date of birth (day, month) with a probability of more than 50% (the so-called paradox of birth). Mathematical reality contradicts philistine belief, namely, most people deem of probability in this case is less than 50%).

That's what the theory of probability.

How to work with it:
Do not rely excessively on instinctive assessment.
Even if a workaround is activated several times, once it reaches the target. Make sure you treat your objective instinctive premonitions or clear about the consequences of his confidence in them.
See the book "Fooled by Randomness."

Beware assess the chances of "after the event"
It is one thing to consider the fact that someone has won the lottery twice — in retrospect. And it is quite another thing when a particular person — chosen before the results — wins: it is, in fact, can be seen as a chance for one trillion dollars, and cause to doubt the legitimacy of the lottery.

9. Trap memory
Not all memories are reproduced with the same accuracy

What can you say about the probability of a randomly selected flight ended after a fatal crash? While many over-estimate the possibility of this, studies show that fatal accidents occur with a frequency of 1 in 10 000 000.

The fact that people in general tend to estimate the probabilities, only partly explains the tendency misinterpret events: If you ask this question immediately after a major crash, be prepared for even more distorted estimates.

The following occurs: we analyze the information, based on personal experience, on what we can remember from the experience. We give in to the emotional impact of extraordinary or outstanding events, such as an extremely tragic event, or those that have occurred recently. The "specificity" of the event, the more likely that our memories of him will be distorted. Of course, those who are interested in 9,999,999 planes that landed safely at the destination? Therefore, there is nothing more natural than just forget about them.

How to work with it:
Set accurate. As we have said before, do not absolutely necessary to rely on your memory. Of course, the memory must also be used, but always try to find the exact data that confirm or refute your memories as soon as possible.

Control your emotions.
When you analyze the data, try to move away from it as emotional, at least for now.

If you analyze the event from his own life, imagine that it happened a long time ago, or that it does not happen to you, but with someone who do not have to do with you. And then, if you decide to ask the opinion of other people, find those who are not emotionally involved in these events and their consequences.

Beware of the media.
The media are dangerous because they are too exaggerate the importance of some events, while successfully avoiding the attention of others. Always check the information for accuracy and reliability, and not a guide to how far it spreads.
See the book "Manipulation of consciousness."

10. Trap superiority
average higher than the average

In one study, drivers of cars were invited to compare their driving skills with the skill of other drivers. Almost all participants (93%!) Rated their skills "above average."

With few exceptions, people have an exaggerated opinion of his personality. They exaggerate their skills and abilities, which leads to an error of judgment for themselves.

That's why I decided to end this particular article mental trap. Once we learned of many mental traps, we must be especially careful not to fall into a new one: the confidence that we are now immune to all traps.

Of course, the first step in order to avoid these pitfalls — awareness and constant vigilance, but remember, much, much easier to see how others fall into these traps, than you.

How to work with it:
Be humble.
Remember that everyone has weaknesses (yes, including me and you!)

Surround yourself with honest people
Since we all have weaknesses, there is nothing better than having a number of honest people, which in time will point to them.

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