5 Ways Your Brain Tricks You

Are you sure it's not all in the head? Read these fascinating facts on how your brain is messing with you.

Is your brain playing games with you?

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.

Image of man making happy face then sad face

1. Biased brain

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, yet we are vulnerable to confirmation bias.

Essentially, we may be subconsciously searching only for that which supports our existing ideas and beliefs when reading a news article or watching a debate.

2. The blame game 

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.

3. Your brain is lazy

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 - a mental shortcut which does indeed rely upon immediate examples that come to mind. Basically, the brain is tricked into thinking that if something can be recalled, it must be important - or at least more important than potential alternatives.

4. Your brain misses out on obvious things

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. 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.

5. Imagination Tricks

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?