Say our politics, no matter how many alternative forces are there, we end up voting for the same old party who end up with same old-fashioned tactics of development; Say our mindset, no matter how hard we are optimist about change, we end up following same old traditional beliefs; And say our perspective, have you thought why it doesn’t want to shift no matter how much we are equipped with exposure of information and education??
It’s a tricky thing. After all, change is amazingly hard thing to do.
I had been trying to write this article for more than a month or so. I had exam in between and little weary to sit for a while and write. I didn’t want to change from my not-so still heavily felt exam pressure and I rather quitted the idea of writing on this.
Because for me, shifting my exam schedule to write-up time was difficult.
It’s just an instance!!
Many of the times no matter how much we wish, we simply cannot change. Otherwise, why an educated female would carry her sanitary pad inside wrapped paper no matter how much she likes being a girl? Why a husband doesn’t want to do household work no matter how much he would respect his working wife? WHY?
We have a wonderful term in Psychology ‘Biasness’ which we like to refer as mental shortcuts which happens and we even don’t realize it happened. That’s where our resistance to change pop up!
Let me introduce few of them here. You never know next time when you are under the influence of cognitive bias, you can understand why it just happened and your self-awareness might just be helpful to keep it in balance!
1.Ever thought why we do have ‘Gang of friends’ whom we call ours and just dislike other ‘without a definite reasons’?
In-Group Bias happens when we shape ourselves to conform to the group which we most strongly identity. This not only creates solidarity in the group but also increases group’s acceptance of us as members in good standing. This is why we overestimate the power of our group and discount others who don’t identify with us.
Next time if you are disliking another class mate of yours without a reason, just try to think why he is discounted. Who knows you are under cognitive influence of your larger group who dislikes him and you are just conforming that with your in-group bias!
2. Have you ever wanted to understand why we keep on snoozing the alarm clock no matter how much we planned to wake up and exercise the last night?
Current-Moment Bias is the term social psychologist use to justify this habit of ours. Research says, Most of us want to take pleasure from the current moment, while leaving pain for later.
3.Why do we often see people support to their own political parties or ideologies even though there is clear evidence of their wrong doings?
Social Psychologist names this tendency as ‘Confirmation Bias’. This involves favoring information that confirms previously existing beliefs or biases. We seek out to the information that confirms or validate our logic discard the information what doesn’t confirm. Confirmation biases impact how we gather information, but they also influence how we interpret and recall information. This makes us choosy to those information that support our beliefs and discard those that are against our beliefs.
4. In the recent cricket match between Kenya and Nepal, had you felt that Nepal would win a big time and exclaimed ‘ maile bhaneko thiye ni nepalle jitchha!!’’ after Nepal won the match or for the matter in any kind of events or sports?
If so, in psychology it is call ‘I-know-it-all-Phonenomenon’, i.e Hindsight Bias. We tend to overestimate what we know without having a base to it.
5. Do you think your friend got the highest mark in her finals because examiner was favoring her because of her handwriting but you got low mark because examiner didn’t know how to check the answer paper correctly?
Also, How much you attribute the reason to be situational when your child misbehave and how much you attribute to the parenting style when someone else child misbehave?
If you are doing so, you are falling in the hand of ‘Attribution Biasness’. We tend to attribute or give reason to our problems as because of external reason and someone else as their own faults.
6. How often you think your friends think like you with the number of likes in your status? Do you think they are (all of them are) consenting on your way of belief?
If so. Give a second thought. We have a tendency to overestimate the degree to which other people agree with our beliefs, values, attitudes and behaviors. This creates a false consensus, which can influence our decisions and behaviors. Social Psychologist calls it False Consensus Effect. And it might be deteriorating for your self-esteem if you keep on overestimating and when actual time comes to act, when not many people support your belief.
7. Does your impression of a candidate being a good public speaker lead you to feel that she is also smart, kind, and hard-working? Does thinking that a particular actor is good-looking also lead you to think that he is a compelling actor?
If you are doing so, It is another kind of cognitive bias which psychologist say ‘Halo-Effect’. Next time, when you are choosing whom to vote or which seminar to attend or which teacher to take supervisor, make sure to realize either you are evaluating with one trait or overall impression?
8. Despite the health risks imposed by inactivity and health benefits by doing exercise why many people still prefer to engage in unhealthy behaviors like not exercising or eating fatty foods?
We have tendency to refer to immediate past experience to choose the immediate future plans. That is referred to ‘Availability Heuristic’ which is one of the cognitive biases.
Our brain is, most of the times, to lazy to give much mental effort to help us out in making plans so it refers to latest immediate happenings as Heuristic (mental shortcuts) to help us in our decision making, which sometimes be detrimental in our decision making. Availability heuristics is greatly increased by the availability of the immediate information we can have. For the above example, it might be the role of media that induces people to engage in availability heuristics. For example its known fact that people die many times more by cancer and diabetes than by accidents and murder. But newspaper and media tends to give more focus to accidents and murder than health issues which makes the issue of health less important than the dangers of murder and accidents.
9. How many of you really believed that 2012 would be the end of the world?
You repeat a lie hundreds or thousands of times it becomes the truth. That phenomenon is called the illusion of truth. This is the tactics very often employed by the politicians. And sometimes we might be doing the same thing unknowingly. It creates the illusion of truth which can aid to status quo .
Don’t you think we are making many racial/ethnic statements just due to our Illusion of truth. May be!
In a nutshell, our cognition is a vast subject to study and think of. These are very few biasness which we call, from psychological lenses, cognitive biasness which we are using in our daily life (even without noticing that we are doing it). This can be detrimental for our fully functioning capability of intellect, decision making and rational thinking.
Make sure you are aware of these (and many more if you wish to learn about it. Do it from our Google-Guru or Psychology Books) in your day to day life. It can save many things- your effort, your relation and your rationality!
About this Author
Kripa Sigdel is founder and Executive Director of Psychbigyaan Network Nepal. She is Psychology post-graduate student and passionate Psychology Promoter. Her interests lies Academics, Research and Counselling.