There are times when you forget important details like birthdays, anniversaries, meetings and sometimes you plainly fail to notice things that are right in front of you.
Now you may think of these as human errors or sometimes blame the situation. The fact is, the human brain is astounding, but it is not perfect.
Here are some psychological twists that might lead you off course at times.
In today’s world of social media and the internet, we are surrounded by thousands of opinions. Everyone has a say and wants to be heard. We are vulnerable to some cognitive biases that derail us from thinking objectively and taking correct decisions.
For example, when we read a news article or watch a debate, our mind seeks out evidence that supports our existing beliefs and ideas. There are different types of cognitive bias, which affect how we perceive things and what we prioritise while taking decisions.
How often have you found yourself guilty of playing the blame game? Can you recall these lines:
The test was so hard. All the questions were out of syllabus.
The meeting room was so dull; I could not give a great presentation.
We have a natural tendency to look for an underlying cause to blame when something bad occurs. We habitually blame the external forces and alter the reality in our minds to protect our image and pride.
Interestingly, if you deliver a bad presentation in the meeting, you blame the room; but if your colleague does the same, then you are likely to believe that he/she was not prepared enough. This habit is known as fundamental attribution error.
Believe it or not, your brain takes shortcuts too. Often when you come across an issue, your mind shortcuts to solutions that have worked for you in the past.
This phenomenon is known as availability heuristic.
As defined by Wikipedia: The availability heuristic is a mental shortcut that relies on immediate examples that come to a given person's mind when evaluating a specific topic, concept, method or decision. The availability heuristic operates on the notion that if something can be recalled, it must be important, or at least more important than alternative solutions which are not as readily recalled.
In today's world, our mind is already grasping so many much information that it fails to notice visible changes happening in front of you; referred to as change blindness.
A great example is this interesting experiment:
Change blindness arises when a person watching visuals fails to notice some significant shifts in the scene. Research suggests that various factors lead to change blindness. Mainly if we are trying to concentrate on one thing, we simply have to filter out or ignore details that our brain cannot deal with at that time.
You can also blame it on expectations. In the above video, did you expect a gorilla to come walking in? Certainly not! That is one of the main reasons your brain was preconditioned not to notice it.
Did you know that our imagination can trick us into thinking that we have done something which we have never actually done and lead us to create false memories?
Memory is not just a recording of something happened in the past.It is very malleable and flexible. The things you recall as memory can change depending on how and when you remember them.
Are you interested in how the human mind works? Check out our Psychology courses:
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