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Infographic: 20 Cognitive Biases That Screw Up Your Decisions

Infographic: 20 Cognitive Biases That Screw Up Your Decisions

So you think that you’re a rational person and that those psychological tricks that work on the masses won’t work on you? Well, the following infographic might shake your confidence.

Interestingly enough, the brain often likes playing tricks on us, whether we want it to or not. Before we get into the infographic, let me introduce you to some of the main cognitive biases upon which these tricks are based.

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Anchoring

When making decisions, we tend to rely too heavily on the first piece of information we receive. This fact is often exploited in marketing, particularly online. How many times have you come across something along these lines: “Buy this new product, which is normally priced at $299 for a limited-time price of $49!” That’s a phenomenal bargain, right? Once your brain is anchored to a price of $299, the $49 you might have balked at before sounds much cheaper. How often are you being anchored in your daily life?

Confirmation Bias

We tend to look for information that confirms what we believe. This is referred to as confirmation bias, and is precisely what gets us mired in our current beliefs. Our minds seek information that supports what we think, so it is hard to adopt new thoughts and beliefs. Conspiracy theorists are a perfect example of this. They often twist facts and disregard that which challenges their theories. They seek evidence that confirms their assumptions and, sure enough, they manage to find plenty of it. That said, not every conspiracy theory is automatically wrong.

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Placebo Effect

If you believe in something strongly enough, it may enter reality to a certain extent. The most famous example of the placebo effect is arguably the case of Mr. Wright, a terminally ill patient who had been given less than 2 weeks to live. The release of a new drug called Krebiozen gave him hope, and his health improved rapidly upon taking the drug.

Unfortunately, reports that the medicine might be ineffective arose, and Mr. Wright’s health suddenly deteriorated when he learned of this. His doctor noticed the pattern and decided to administer placebo injections consisting only of water while telling Mr. Wright that the injections contained a new and improved version of the medicine.

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Mr. Wright’s health improved dramatically while taking the placebo. Sadly, the American Medical Association ultimately announced that Krebiozen was completely ineffective in the treatment of cancer. Mr. Wright resultantly lost hope and died within a few days of this revelation.

Clustering Illusion

This is the tendency to see patterns in random events that are not truly related. Our mind is designed to spot patterns everywhere, even when there is no scientific evidence for them. Take sports, for instance. Sports fans often think that they can predict the success or failure of their favorite player. If they see LeBron scoring multiple free throws in a row, they start to think that he will make the next shot as well. In reality, research has shown that there is little to no link between any of the free throws, even when they occur successively.

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Survivorship Bias

Survivorship Bias occurs when we fail to adequately consider failure rates when making decisions. There are scores of entrepreneurs who failed, painters who died in poverty, and inventors who were never successful, but how often do we hear their stories? Rarely, because nobody likes to hear stories that end in failure. Such stories can be sad and depressing, but they are part of reality. Have you ever experienced Survivorship Bias in your life?

Now that you’re familiar with the most common cognitive biases, check the infographic below for more information. Are there any that have tricked you recently?

bi_graphics_20-cognitive-biases-that-screw-up-your-decisions

    Featured photo credit: 20 cognitive biases that screw up your decisions via businessinsider.com

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    Last Updated on January 18, 2019

    7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

    7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

    Some people will have a rain cloud hanging over them, no matter what the weather is outside. Their negative attitude is toxic to your own moods, and you probably feel like there is little you can do about it.

    But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

    If you want to effectively deal with negative people and be a champion of positivity, then your best route is to take definite action through some of the steps below.

    1. Limit the time you spend with them.

    First, let’s get this out of the way. You can be more positive than a cartoon sponge, but even your enthusiasm has a chance of being afflicted by the constant negativity of a friend.

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    In fact, negativity has been proven to damage your health physically, making you vulnerable to high levels of stress and even cardiac disease. There’s no reason to get hurt because of someone else’s bad mood.

    Though this may be a little tricky depending on your situation, working to spend slightly less time around negative people will keep your own spirits from slipping as well.

    2. Speak up for yourself.

    Don’t just absorb the comments that you are being bombarded with, especially if they are about you. It’s wise to be quick to listen and slow to speak, but being too quiet can give the person the impression that you are accepting what’s being said.

    3. Don’t pretend that their behavior is “OK.”

    This is an easy trap to fall into. Point out to the person that their constant negativity isn’t a good thing. We don’t want to do this because it’s far easier to let someone sit in their woes, and we’d rather just stay out of it.

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    But if you want the best for this person, avoid giving the false impression that their negativity is normal.

    4. Don’t make their problems your problems.

    Though I consider empathy a gift, it can be a dangerous thing. When we hear the complaints of a friend or family member, we typically start to take on their burdens with them.

    This is a bad habit to get into, especially if this is a person who is almost exclusively negative. These types of people are prone to embellishing and altering a story in order to gain sympathy.

    Why else would they be sharing this with you?

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    5. Change the subject.

    When you suspect that a conversation is starting to take a turn for the negative, be a champion of positivity by changing the subject. Of course, you have to do this without ignoring what the other person said.

    Acknowledge their comment, but move the conversation forward before the euphoric pleasure gained from complaining takes hold of either of you.

    6. Talk about solutions, not problems.

    Sometimes, changing the subject isn’t an option if you want to deal with negative people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be positive.

    I know that when someone begins dumping complaints on me, I have a hard time knowing exactly what to say. The key is to measure your responses as solution-based.

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    You can do this by asking questions like, “Well, how could this be resolved?” or, “How do you think they feel about it?”

    Use discernment to find an appropriate response that will help your friend manage their perspectives.

    7. Leave them behind.

    Sadly, there are times when we have to move on without these friends, especially if you have exhausted your best efforts toward building a positive relationship.

    If this person is a family member, you can still have a functioning relationship with them, of course, but you may still have to limit the influence they have over your wellbeing.

    That being said, what are some steps you’ve taken to deal with negative people? Let us know in the comments.

    You may also want to read: How to Stop the Negative Spin of Thoughts, Emotions and Actions.

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