Don’t Let Your Brain Fool You: How to Think Independently and Rationally

  • The brain prefers simple and reassuring explanations, but often distorts the facts and makes irrational judgments.
  • Many cognitive illusions permeate every aspect of life, allowing you to be misled invisibly.
  • You can reduce the brain’s “wrongdoing” by repeated confirmation, changing perspectives, deep learning and positive hints.

In our daily life, we firmly believe in a lot of “knowledge”, but we don’t know that they are actually cognitive misunderstandings.

For example: Looking at green can relieve visual fatigue?
——Looking from a distance can rest the eye muscles, and it is ineffective to look at green plants at close range.

Bulls irritated by red?
——Don’t be funny, Niu is colorblind, but he feels very uncomfortable when faced with teasing.

The memory of fish is only 7 seconds?
——When the fish heard that it was going to explode, it remembered clearly what happened a few months ago.

The book “How to Think Independently” puts forward a point of view: the brain is more error-prone than imagined.

“The brain prefers simple, reassuring explanations, and our memory is actually a mess, with a lot of preconceived biases in our thinking.”

Neither the stories passed down by the public nor our own feelings are so true and reliable.

Many judgments and decisions are irrational, small enough to change the appearance of things, big enough to affect a lifetime.

As the saying goes, seeing is believing, but our complex brain circuits and rich associations often distort the facts.

Brain potential developer Fumuro Nishida, after 45 years of research on the brain, came to an astonishing conclusion:

“More than 99% of what the brain thinks is correct is an illusion.”

These illusions permeate every aspect of life, allowing you to be misled invisibly.

1) Optical illusions

For comparison, which of the two squares in the picture is larger?

Did you blurt out “the one on the left is bigger”?

In fact, their areas are the same size.

Since the background and color around the object will affect human perception, the framed object will attract more attention.

You see, although the eyes see everything, they cannot control their intuition and still draw arbitrary conclusions.

2) Neurological illusion

The experimenter will hide a real hand of the test subject and replace it with a rubber prosthetic hand. When touching the real hand while touching the fake hand, the test subject will have hallucinations.

When the experimenter tapped the prosthetic hand with a hammer, the subject looked nervous and showed a painful expression.

When the hammer hit the prosthetic hand, the test subject screamed in horror.

I have to say that even if we know that some things are false, we will believe them to be true, and even try our best to maintain them.

3) Memory illusion

After 9/11, psychologists took 700 people and recorded what they were doing.

A year later, their memories clearly contradict each other:

The person who remembers watching the live broadcast is actually listening to the radio; the person who remembers being in the United States with his son is actually in the UK at the time.

The brain is a complex machine. It will classify memories according to shape, color, sense, etc., and put them in different areas of the brain.

When the nervous system works at the same time, the brain faces a variety of combinations, and it is inevitable to make mistakes.

Even if it is my own personal experience, it will be talked about nonsense.

As the psychological “anchor effect” points out:

When people make judgments, they are easily dominated by first impressions or first information, just like an anchor sinking in the bottom of the sea, limiting their thoughts to a certain place.

The brain has a hard time discerning real situations, it just extracts attributes from things to form its own opinion.

If you don’t go deep into things and trust your feelings with confidence, you may fall into blindness and delusion.

Knowing the deceitfulness of the brain, it is not difficult to understand the outrageous phenomena in life:

Relying on subjective imagination, it is concluded as the truth;
When you see a corner of things, you feel that you have the whole picture;
If you learn only a little knowledge, you will mistakenly think that you are full of economics…

The misjudgment of the brain will have a series of impacts on our lives, and even troubles:

1) subjective assumption

There is a short story in “Lu Shi Chun Qiu”.

A man lost an ax and suspected that it was stolen by a neighbor’s son.

So he observed the man’s every word and deed, and felt that the other party looked like a thief.

Later, when the ax was found, he felt that the man looked nothing like him.

In life, relying entirely on subjective assumptions often distort objective facts.

Labeling and making unreasonable comments based on stereotypes exposes one’s ignorance and narrow-mindedness, and is also the greatest malice to others.

2) Generalize

When you go to work in the morning, the elevator suddenly breaks down and the door cannot be opened, and you immediately imagine:

It’s so horrible, I don’t want to take the elevator again in my life;

Why am I so unlucky? Things that don’t happen in a hundred years can happen, and I’m afraid it will be very difficult recently;

It looks like I’m going to be late today, the leader already has a problem with me, maybe I’ll take this opportunity to make trouble…

An accidental accident can easily turn into a “major accident” after simple processing by the brain.

It will also cause psychological hints to oneself in a subtle way, and eventually form a vicious circle, making people fall into constant rumination.

3) Blind self-confidence

There are many such people in life:

Feeling good about oneself, dismissive of others, and leaving oneself helpless as a result;

After making a little performance, he resolutely resigned and started a business, but the result was a complete failure.

This is the cognitive closed loop caused by the illusion of the brain, overestimating one’s own value and talent, in fact, one does not know much.

There are no specific measurement standards for some things, and we will make judgments according to our own ideas. Because of lack of understanding, there will be cognitive biases.

The brain works non-stop and is often overwhelmed, so it occasionally misses out.

Learn to remind yourself at all times, so as to avoid being “biased” by it.

Have you ever had this experience?

If you wake up in the morning and stay in bed, you will still feel sleepy and weak in your limbs.

But if you get out of bed immediately, will you feel that your body has regained its vitality?

This is the “behavior consistency , and people’s thoughts and behaviors are mutually influenced.

The brain will cooperate with us to achieve our wishes in accordance with the instructions received.

That is, by working closely with the brain, we can reduce its “wrongdoing.”

1) Repeated confirmation and verification, not to be kidnapped by the subconscious

In “The Terrible Illusion” says:

“When a person is filled with a certain emotion, it will carry a strong hint of personal preference, and it will override the prejudice over the fact.”

The subconscious mind is innate and controls your decisions at any time, but the cognitive ability needs to be cultivated slowly.

Therefore, you must think twice before doing anything.

Don’t be impatient, give yourself more time to react and deliberate, and try boldly.

Self-examine at any time, review and summarize frequently, and strengthen logical thinking.

2) Take the initiative to change the perspective and grasp the whole picture of things

There is a saying that goes well:

“You never really know a man until you step in his shoes and put yourself in his shoes. ”

The world is multi-dimensional, and we only have one pair of eyes. Sometimes what you see is just the tip of the iceberg.

Only by keeping an open mind and jumping out of self-limitation can we avoid blind spots.

Try to understand other people’s views, think in multiple dimensions, and make an objective and comprehensive assessment.

3) Adhere to deep learning and be diligent in practical experience

A student asked Zeno, the philosopher, why he always had doubts about his answers?

Zeno conveniently drew two circles, one large and one small:

“These two circles represent me and you respectively. The circumference of the big circle is longer than that of the small circle. I have been exposed to more unknown areas than you, so naturally I can see farther than you.”

Only by constantly expanding the boundaries of cognition can we reduce the blind spots in life.

To cultivate a growth mindset, you need to persist in deep learning practice, read more books, learn more from big bosses, and guide and adjust your behavior.

4) Make positive hints to stimulate positive behavior

The self-suggestion method in psychology holds that the brain can turn anything it thinks into reality.

Many people often think that they are not good from the beginning; successful people are good at using positive thinking and thinking about ways to achieve their goals.

Learn to control negative thoughts, give yourself positive hints, have a good state, and do things handily.

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