12 Thinking Mistakes Our Brain Makes Almost Every Single Day

Our brain is indeed an amazing organ capable of more than you could ever fathom. The continuous trend of advancing technology in several fields of science and industry is proof of how a thought process leads to incredible inventions and lifesaving techniques of medicine. But, the brain is also very complicated and can even function in negative ways too and this is due to lifestyle triggers and influences governing our daily lives. Without intention and subconsciously, we end up making biased decisions or even wrong ones too. Take a look at these 12 thinking mistakes our brains make every day.


1 The paradox of choice

It might seem a surprise but when having to make a decision, people prefer fewer options than a big variety of choices. The brain’s decision-making ability is greatly reduced if not paralyzed when faced with too many options. This was proven by the jam experiment where 3 % of When the options were fewer, 30% of people made purchases.

Paradox of choice

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How to avoid this

When faced with choices, people should learn not to be afraid of a wrong choice while sellers too should provide a middle ground so that customers aren’t overwhelmed by the large variety of choices.

Girl in supermarket

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2Confirmation bias

When people’s assumptions are confirmed, only then are they prone to believe that something is true. This is a dangerous type of biased thinking as it prevents objective evaluation of events and researching more information just because the evidence confirms our beliefs. Social media is forever using this tactic to filter information based on a user’s preference. Only those items that we tend to believe and view more usually appear in our feeds. That is how a person’s social media experience is filtered on a regular basis.

Confirmation bias

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Why it is dangerous

Such a situation is dangerous because it creates individual perceptions and not a unified assumption or conclusion. We are provided information of only what we chose to see and are deprived of the real picture. A situation or incident always has two sides and complete information is required to make a deduction and form a true evaluation and opinion. This bias creates a biased and divided society.

Biased and divided society

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3Focusing effect

Psychologists feel that the focusing effect is that part of past experiences that we remember the most in relation to an object responsible for influencing our decisions. The other bits of information are thus ignored and this type of bias has been termed “the focusing effect’.

Focusing effect

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What studies have shown

A 1998 study proved how the focusing effect influenced how we see things. Participants felt that those from California were happier than those from the Mid West. The assumption was based only upon information that it was sunnier in California without taking into account other factors that could affect and influence happiness.

way sign boards

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4Pygmalion effect

The Pygmalion effect was first coined in 1968 by Rosenthal and Jackson. It studied the connection between how people performed according to the expectations of others. When teachers had higher expectations of students and created situations that cultivated positive behavior, the students performed better. Thus as an employer, to motivate employees and improve performance, don’t point out or predict failures.

Pygmalion effect

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This phenomenon provides an explanation why bad decisions are sometimes made even though there are intelligent people in a group. People tend to suppress their opinions all because of avoiding conflict. The term groupthink was coined in relation to political decisions that could lead to bad situations and consequences. These can be avoided when a group leader takes precautionary measures like including an outside party as an evaluator to study the group’s decisions.


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6Swimmer’s body illusion

When selection factors are confused with hard training it provides a situation called swimmers body illusion. This confuses the cause and result. You can’t get a swimmers body only by training rather swimmers have naturally good physiques which they maintain through extensive training. The same applies to a top class university that imparts the highest standards of education. Is their reputation based on how they impart their education or simply by choosing A grade students to study there?

Swimmer’s body illusion

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7Pareidolia: The condition of seeing patterns in things

Have you ever wondered why we tend to see images in natural phenomena such as body shapes in fruits or even clouds for that matter? Believe it or not but this illusion of seeing patterns actually happens in the temporal lobe area of our brain that helps us recognize faces. In fact, it is actually a side effect of our brain’s ability of recognition.

Condition of seeing patterns

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8Frequency illusion

This type of illusion is a strange psychological phenomenon which makes notice something everywhere after we may have read about it, seen it on television or on the internet. Frequency selection is influenced by our ability for selective attention. The object only appears to you after you have learned about it even though it might have actually been in those places the entire time.

Frequency illusion

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9Operant conditioning

Operant conditioning is term coined for a tool that modifies behavior through positive and negative reinforcement. Certain actions lead to corresponding consequences. We get programmed to accept that each time we push the elevator button, something will happen. But, in case the elevator breaks down, or the batteries in your remote don’t function, what then? Our very first response is to go berserk and start pushing the buttons several times until a familiar result is achieved.

Operant conditioning

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10Loss aversion bias

Loss aversion refers to something that makes you avoid trying out new things like moving out of a familiar and old apartment. Some people are more attached to things and even experience pain in the loss of something familiar. The pain exceeds the benefits of gaining something new that could be better than the old. Loss aversion provides a valid explanation why a penalty threat can motivate some people more than rewards.

Loss aversion bias

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11Self-serving bias

For most people, a success is always attributed to ones capabilities while failure is always blamed on external factors. This is reversed in people with low self–esteem. Both factors of behavior are well recognized in psychology and are considered counter-productive. To avoid the situation of self serving bias, one should be aware of such things and correct themselves in time. People should also learn to be kinder to themselves rather than placing harsh limitations and constraints.

Self-serving bias

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12Color psychology

The two most popular colors of phones are black and white. A person’s choice of color speaks a lot about one’s personality. Psychologists say that people 80% of the time people choose colors subconsciously and others too, pay attention to the colors that we choose. To stand out and be different, avoid the colors white or black for phones. Black phones signify someone who goes with the flow while white signifies a person who avoids risks.

Color psychology

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