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Archive for the ‘Attention’ Category

Don’t get too personal when it’s the all about the situation: Fundamental Attribution Error

April 17th, 2017 2 comments

Fundamental attribution error (FAE) happens when people explain a behavior of another by drawing inferences about that person’s personalities, dispositions or other internal factors, but underestimate the effect of external factors such as the situation the person is in (Gilbert & Malone, 1995). People often make FAE without realizing it. What are some examples of FAE, why does it happen so often outside our consciousness, and how can we avoid it?

Let’s starts with some examples of FAE. Imagine you are traveling in a foreign country and want to buy souvenirs for your friends. After careful selection, you decide to buy seventeen homemade chocolate bars; each is thirteen dollars. Before checking out, you want to know how much do they cost but you are having a hard time calculating the exact number. Then, the little boy next to you says immediately: “Hey, that’s 221 dollars.”

So you take out the cell phone to check the total; you find out that the boy is correct. What would be your first reaction? Read more…

What Was That? I Can’t Remember What You Said, I Was Next-In-Line

April 17th, 2017 5 comments

Don’t You Hate When This Happens?

Imagine it’s the first day of classes for the semester. Your professor announces to the class that you are going to do an icebreaker activity to get to know each other. There are probably a few groans and a little bit of fear from the shyer students. You must tell the class your name, your class year, where you’re from, and a fun fact about yourself. The dread sets in as you panic and try to think of something interesting. You don’t want everyone to think you’re lame or a weirdo. You spend the whole time everyone else is talking trying to think of what to say and finally it’s your turn: “Hi my name is Emma, I’m a senior, I’m from Jacksonville, Florida, and, um, I can lick my elbow.” Now you wonder if maybe that was a little too interesting, while the person sitting next to you talks about his summer in Belize. Or was it Nicaragua? You can’t really remember. Actually you can’t quite recall what any of the people before you said. You were so focused on your own presentation that you did not pay attention to what other people said. This is called the next-in-line effect.

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Naïve Realism: Our Misinterpretation of How We Interpret the World

April 17th, 2017 6 comments

“I disagree.” Words that make us cringe. We have an innate desire for our worldview to be the correct one. This motivation is further exacerbated by our overconfidence in ourselves. We enter arguments thinking we are correct, but in reality, we have subconscious biases that may lead to us not being as accurate as we think we are.

Imagine that you are having an argument with a close friend about who deserves the title of the best baseball player of all time. You are adamant that the title goes to Barry Bonds, but your friend is dead set on Babe Ruth. You present your respective arguments, stating your opinions and even backing them up with the players’ incredible stats. You wonder to yourself, why doesn’t your friend have the same opinion as you? You figure they must be ill informed, that any logical person would choose Barry Bonds. However, you forget to take into account that your dad brought you to the Giants game on August 7, 2007, when Bonds broke the record for most career home runs (Baseball-Reference, 2017). The crowd went wild, the atmosphere was electric, and this became your favorite sports moment of all time. However, because you experienced this momentous event, you have a strong emotional connection to Bonds that tampers with your ability to objectively analyze him as a baseball player. Even though statistically, he may NOT be the best baseball player, your opinion is subconsciously swayed by your incredible experience that day at the ballpark. This highlights the basis of the cognitive error in psychology called naïve realism.

Naïve realism refers to the notion that our world view is strictly objective and veridical. We also believe that others will interpret information with this same view, and if their view differs, they must be biased or have an irrational thought process (Ross & Ward, 1996). To read about all the different psychological concepts that contribute evidence to naïve realism, click here.

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Google- How It’s Changing the Way We Remember

April 17th, 2017 4 comments

How many times have you found yourself googling a question that you know you’ve heard the answer to before, but you just couldn’t remember it? Or have you ever wondered why you just couldn’t recall a small factoid that you read about in a news article the other day? Probably quite often, right?

Well, the internet may be to blame. A new phenomenon associated with our ability to remember things that we believe to be easily accessible through a quick internet search has emerged and has been coined the “google effect” based on the popular search engine. The internet can be thought of as a memory storage system outside of our own brain- like how a USB drive is an external memory storage device.

pinterest.com

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From cocky and conflict ridden to conscious: Causes and implications of the bias blind spot

April 17th, 2017 No comments

“You are extremely average with extremely mediocre talent” my sister tells me every time she thinks I get overly confident and cocky. Why might she say this to me? In order to “plateau” me. “Plateauing,” as my sister would define it, involves dosing out a few insults in order to counteract the effects of excessively high self-esteem.

https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4095/4790331313_8f291f6480.jpg

Or, as a cognitive psychologist might say, dosing out a few insults in order to counteract the self-enhancement bias (i.e. viewing yourself in a very positive way). My sister (as many siblings tend to do) easily recognizes when I act on the self-enhancement bias- and thank goodness she does! Why? Because I don’t.

Before you start feeling bad for me and the fact that I don’t have the ability to recognize my own biases, I’d like to introduce another type of bias, called the bias blind spot. The bias blind spot is the inability for people to recognize a bias in themselves, even if they can see it in others. Studies show that people of all ages and backgrounds are likely to notice biases in others, but do not notice biases in themselves (Pronin, 2007; Pronin & Kugler, 2007; West, Meserve, & Stanovich, 2012). So guess what? Research says that you too are susceptible to be blind to the effects biases play on your thoughts and actions. Not so cocky now, aren’t you? Read more…

Why can’t I remember the name of the actor in my favorite movie?…I know I know it…it’s on the: Tip of the Tongue Phenomenon

April 17th, 2017 5 comments

mercercognitivepsychology.pbworks.com A accurate depiction of of TOT happening in our daily lives (minus buying tongues)

Remember that time when you were trying to recall the celebrity who plays the main character in your favorite movie? You knew that their name began with the letter L, that they were in another movie about dreams, and that they finally won an Oscar. You may even say, “it’s on the tip of my tongue”. But for some reason you just can’t recall their name (by the way it’s Leonardo Dicaprio). It is something we’ve all experienced, and it is called the tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon (TOT).
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One Item, Two Prices: How the Endowment Effect Can Explain Different Valuations of the Same Object

April 17th, 2017 No comments

If you are not aware of the United Airlines disaster/debacle/controversy/blunder (take

Figure 1: United Airlines aircraft

your pick), I would highly recommend familiarizing yourself. However, to save you some time, I will provide you with a short recap of what happened. On April 11, 2017 United Airlines had over booked a flight from Chicago to Louisville and needed to make room for four members of the flight crew. You can probably guess where this is going –  an overbooked flight with four additional seats needed means that four passengers have to change to a later flight (math!). No one wanted to volunteer to give up their seat, so United Airlines bumped four passengers who were already seated from this flight. For whatever reason, one man really did not want to give up his seat that he had already paid for. Thus, United Airlines underwent an “involuntary de-boarding situation” and thought that it would be a good idea to physically remove this man while he was kicking and screaming. Fortunately for us, and unfortunately for United Airlines, this incident was caught by many people on video and then posted to social media. If you’re curious about what United Airlines missed and how they could have potentially avoided the bad PR they incurred after the event, you should continue reading.
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I knew it! The effect of hindsight bias and why you probably did not actually know it.

April 16th, 2017 1 comment

There is a cold crispness to the air, but the sun in the cloudless sky gives you the little bit of warmth you need to feel comfortable. It is an early November day, and it is time for the U-12 soccer championship. Maybe you are a player, a parent, a friend, even a referee here today. There are four teams here with the same goal in mind, to win all their games so that they get crowned champion. The Cheshire Rams are the ones you are hoping to win today. You do not know how the day is going to go because all of the teams here have had great records this season and are all very competitive for the title. Hours later, the Cheshire Rams have done it. They are champions! You are in the car riding back, and all you can think to yourself is “wow, I knew it would happen!”

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-06-26/news/ct-x-0626-keilman-column-20130626_1_more-kids-score-childhood-obesity

 

What is Hindsight Bias?

Did you actually know that the outcome would happen as it did? The truth is, most likely not. Read more…

Please DON’T read this article, but…

April 16th, 2017 3 comments

Obviously, there was nothing special at the arrow, but you must have stared at that arrow for some time.
Source: https://door32.wordpress.com/2009/03/08/reverse-psychology/

… But I know you are going to read more. Isn’t it weird that the author tells you not to read his brainchild? Isn’t it bizarre that I have written an anti-advertisement? Isn’t it interesting that you realize you have almost finished reading the first paragraph? Yes you have.

Also you might have seen the emergency exits labeled “EMERGENCY, DON’T EXIT”. Haven’t you asked yourself why that sign is so paradoxical that you would spend minutes deciding whether to exit? Or you have heard a parent telling a running toddler “I bet you won’t catch me”, and almost immediately the adult was caught by that toddler. For so many times you might have asked why to have that deception. You have probably heard of the famous “smoke a pack per day” slogan in quitting smoking, and if so, aren’t you curious why encouraging smoking actually helps people quit?

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Own-race Bias: Why Some People Might Look The Same to You

April 16th, 2017 4 comments

As someone who is a fan of true crime podcasts, I couldn’t help but to binge-listen to the episodes of Wrongful Convictions–a podcast by the Innocence Project detailing stories of people who were convicted for crimes they did not commit. In one of the stories, a person was convicted due to the misidentification by one of the victims of the crime. This eyewitness testimony was enough to carry a 30-year-old sentence in prison.

Pattern recognition of faces of other races can vary according to the cross-race bias.
PC: The Guardian

There are several cognitive errors that could make of this eyewitness testimony (and others) unreliable. Daniel Schacter described in the Seven Sins of Memory (2001) different cognitive errors that the memory is sensitive to, including memory biases. In the case of the person wrongfully convicted, a cross-race or own-race bias could have influenced the misidentification. An own-race bias refers to the tendency of being more accurate at recognizing faces of your own race than faces of another race (Malpass & Kravits, 1969).  The bias is not exclusive to the context of eyewitness testimonies and the criminal justice system, however; you can stumble upon the own-race bias during a trivial day. For example, have you ever had a feeling that people who don’t belong to your racial category look “all the same” to you? Or have you wondered why you are very good at recognizing faces of your own racial profile yet can’t make the same accurate distinctions cross-racially? Or maybe, have you ever confused two people from outside your race because you couldn’t distinguish certain individual characteristics to make them apart? Then you’re in the right place to learn about this cross-race phenomenon! In this blog, we discuss possible mechanisms behind the cross-race bias.

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