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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 September 17, 2019

    10 Simple Ways To Always Think Positive Thoughts

    10 Simple Ways To Always Think Positive Thoughts

    Positive thinking can lead to a lot of positive change in your life. Developing an optimistic outlook can be good for both your physical and mental health.

    But sometimes, certain situations arise in life that makes it hard to keep a positive outlook. Take steps to make positive thinking become more like your second nature and you’ll reap the biggest benefits.

    Here are 10 ways to make thinking positive thoughts easy:

    1. Spend Time with Positive People

    If you surround yourself with constant complainers, their negativity is likely to rub off on you.

    Spend time with positive friends and family members to increase the likelihood that their positive thinking habits will become yours too. It’s hard to be negative when everyone around you is so positive.

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    2. Take Responsibility for Your Behavior

    When you encounter problems and difficulties in life, don’t play the role of the victim. Acknowledge your role in the situation and take responsibility for your behavior.

    Accepting responsibility can help you learn from mistakes and prevent you from blaming others unfairly.

    3. Contribute to the Community

    One of the best ways to feel good about what you have, is to focus on what you have to give.

    Volunteer in some manner and give back to the community. Helping others can give you a new outlook on the world and can assist you with positive thinking.

    4. Read Positive and Inspirational Materials

    Spend time each day reading something that encourages positive thinking. Read the Bible, spiritual material, or inspirational quotes to help you focus on what’s important to you in life. It can be a great way to start and end your day.

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    Some recommendations for you:

    5. Recognize and Replace Negative Thoughts

    You won’t be successful at positive thinking if you’re still plagued by frequent negative thoughts. Learn to recognize and replace thoughts that are overly negative. Often, thoughts that include words like “always” and “never” signal that they aren’t true.

    If you find yourself thinking something such as, “I always mess everything up,” replace it with something more realistic such as, “Sometimes I make mistakes but I learn from them.”

    There’s no need to make your thoughts unrealistically positive, but instead, make them more realistic.

    6. Establish and Work Toward Goals

    It’s easier to be positive about problems and setbacks when you have goals that you’re working toward. Goals will give you motivation to overcome those obstacles when you encounter problems along the way. Without clear goals, it’s harder to make decisions and gauge your progress.

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    Learn to set SMART goals to help you achieve more.

    7. Consider the Consequences of Negativity

    Spend some time thinking about the consequences of negative thinking. Often, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    For example, a person who thinks, “I probably won’t get this job interview,” may put less effort into the interview. As a result, he may decrease his chances of getting the job.

    Create a list of all the ways negative thinking impacts your life. It likely influences your behavior, your relationships, and your feelings. Then, create a list of the ways in which positive thinking could be beneficial.

    8. Offer Compliments to Others

    Look for reasons to compliment others. Be genuine in your praise and compliments, but offer it frequently. This will help you look for the good in other people.

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    9. Create a Daily Gratitude List

    If you start keeping a daily gratitude list, you’ll start noticing exactly how much you have to be thankful for. This can help you focus on the positive in your life instead of thinking about all the bad things that have happened in the day.

    Getting in the habit of showing an attitude of gratitude makes positive thinking more of a habit. Here’re 40 Simple Ways To Practice Gratitude.

    10. Practice Self-Care

    Take good care of yourself and you’ll be more equipped to think positively.

    Get plenty of rest and exercise and practice managing your stress well. Taking care of your physical and mental health will provide you with more energy to focus on positive thinking.

    Learn about these 30 Self-Care Habits for a Strong and Healthy Mind, Body and Spirit.

    More About Staying Positive

    Featured photo credit: DESIGNECOLOGIST via unsplash.com

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