6 Powerful Psychological Effects That Explain How Our Brains Tick

This is a great great article, which has explained so many things for me.

Here are 6 powerful psychological effects and their key takeaways, I summarize them for ya.

1. The Pratfall Effect – Your likability will increase if you aren’t perfect.

  • Those who never make mistakes are perceived as less likeable than those who commit the occasional faux pas.
  • Messing up draws people closer to you, makes you more human. Perfection creates distance and an unattractive air of invincibility.
  • Occasional mistakes are not only acceptable, they may turn out to be beneficial. So long as the mistakes are not critical and making mistakes does not compound a reputation for being unliked, the occasional pratfall can come in very handy.

2. The Pygmalion Effect – Greater expectations drive greater performance.

  • The crux of this psychological phenomenon is the concept of self-fulfilling prophecy: If you believe something is true of yourself, eventually it will be.
  • What one person expects of another can come to serve as a self-fulfilling prophecy.
  • Individually, you can challenge yourself with more difficult goals and tasks in an effort to rise to meet the challenge.
  • As a leader, when you expect great things of your team, you may see improved performance in return.

3. The Paradox of Choice – The more choices we have, the less likely we are to be content with our decision.

  • A simple solution to the paradox of choice: Give yourself fewer options. A key to this is identified in the following excerpt from Schwartz’s book:
  • Focus on what makes you happy, and do what gives meaning to your life

4. The Bystander Effect – The more people who see someone in need, the less likely that person is to receive help.

  • Be specific when you need help.
  • Ask someone for help by name so as to remove the confusion of responsibility.
  • To avoid frustration, pick out 1 person only every time.

5. The Spotlight Effect – Your mistakes are not noticed as much as you think

  • The perception of our being under constant scrutiny is merely in our minds, and the paranoia and self-doubt that we feel each time we make a mistake does not truly reflect reality.
  • You are under the spotlight less often than you think.
  • You can’t completely eliminate the embarrassment you feel when you commit a faux pas, but it helps to know how much you’re exaggerating its impact.

6. The Focusing Effect – People place too much importance on one aspect of an event and fail to recognize other factors

  • “Nothing In Life Is As Important As You Think It Is, While You Are Thinking About It” – Daniel Kahneman
  • Marketers use Focusing Effect (also called focusing illusion) on consumers by convincing them of the necessary features of a product or service.
  • Politicians, too, use focusing to exaggerate the importance of particular issues.
  • To combat this effect, it is important to remember to keep perspective, look at problems from many angles, and weigh several factors before making a decision.
  • The downfall of the Focusing Effect is that it can lead to mistakes in predicting future outcomes. If you can avoid tunnel vision (or at least acknowledge that it may exist), you can improve your chances of making a sound choice.

Full text is here.


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