”Human stupidity”

– why simplification and assumption are some of the most used tools in your ”brain survival kit”

We are daily exposed to billions of impressions, and our brains need to process lots of information at high speed. In order to cope with all information, our minds protect us by simplifying and picking out just a few things to prevent us for becoming overwhelmed.

From these parts our mind draw conclusions based on previous experiences. However, the conclusion is often more or less inaccurate depending on our prior beliefs, and we become biased. We can even say stupid when knowing that our biased minds tends to assign ”good-looking” people certain qualities like higher intellectual*.

We have, just for fun, collected various psychological phenomena for when the mind plays tricks on us, e.g. simplifications and other strategies that cause psychological biases.
This is the first article in a series where these insights will be shared.
* the ”halo effect” will be described in coming articles

The Benjamin Franklin effect

A psychological phenomenon that causes people to change their negative opinion of someone after they have done the person a favor.

They will also be more willing to do another favor for that person than if he had made a favor for them. Benjamin Franklin himself said, He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another than he whom you yourself have obliged.

This is explained as cognitive dissonance. Our mind reasons that if we help others, we like them. After doing a favor to someone we dislike, there is an inconsistency between the action and the perception. Our minds do not like inconstancy and will aim for maintaining the logical consistency by automatically align the two by simply changing the mind to liking the person.

The Labelling effect

When we are described by others about “how we are” and it tends to become a self-fulfilling prophecy that affects our view of ourselves and our future behavior.

As an example, if someone hears they are a poor speaker, they will not expose themselves for giving presentations and are therefore likely to perform poorly in that area in the future (Golem effect).

Conversely, a person may perform at a higher level than their ability when others express their high expectations of them (Pygmalion effect).

The IKEA effect

A bias in which consumers place a disproportionately high value on products they partially created

In a study from 2011 scientist found that persons were willing to pay 63% more for items they had assembled themselves than for equivalent pre-assembled furniture. We humans take a greater sense of pride when we actually need to take part in the creation. The more effort someone puts into the creation, the more valued it will be by the person.

The dunning – kruger effect

The effect occurs when a person lacks competence or ability in a certain area, but overestimate their own competence and believes they are fully equipped to give opinions or operate in the area

The perception of their skills does not match their true capability. By contrast, the effect can also cause high performers to underestimate their knowledge or talk themselves down in an area.

Note! These are interpretations and definitions and should in no way be seen as scientific. Some of these concepts have even been criticized and misused.