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Archive for the ‘Cognitive Bias’ Category

Why Do Men Continue to Earn More Than Women?

November 20th, 2020 No comments

Have you ever noticed how women often work hard, work equal hours, and are just as capable as men yet still seem to make less money? This is the sad reality for many women in the United States. Women face discrimination due to their gender and as a result, a large pay gap has developed. For women and men of all races, on average, women working full time make 82 cents for every $1 made by men (Census Bureau). This gap continues to widen even more when you break it down by race: Black women make 62 cents and Latina women 54 cents to every $1 made by a White man (Census Bureau). Many of the occupations dominated by men tend to pay more and often shun women from entering the field. Take America’s most successful business corporations for example. Each year when the list of the top 500 richest corporations comes out rarely do we see these companies being led by women. As of 2020, out of the 500 companies, only 37 of them were led by female CEOs (Fortune). Fortune.com stated that the 2020 list set a new record of women CEOs… a whopping 37/500. Clearly we still have a very long way to go until women are equally as successful and represented as men.

Inequality of pay by gender and race 

 

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Are Celebrities Really THAT Perfect? How the Halo Effect Impacts the Way We View and Treat Others

November 20th, 2020 No comments

Have you ever seen a celebrity that you loved and idolized do something wrong? For example, a few years ago the actress Reese Witherspoon’s husband got a DUI while she was driving with him. Reese was quite rude to the police that pulled them over, which caused her to also get arrested for disorderly conduct. She asked the police if they knew who she was, and then when they responded no she warned that they were “about to find out”. She also ignored instructions from the police officer to stay in the car, and resisted arrest.

Chances are, if you were a fan of the actress like I am, you were pretty shocked to hear this story. Despite never having met Reese Witherspoon personally, you assumed she was a kind, respectful person who would never do or say these kinds of things. You may have even been shocked by Reese’s appearance in her mugshot, where she appears disheveled and not like her usual, made-up and presentable self. Why are we so shocked by this, when Reese Witherspoon is literally a stranger to us??

Reese Witherspoon as we “normally” picture her

Reese Witherspoon’s mug shot following her husband’s DUI

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So You Had A Bad Day… Or Did You?

November 20th, 2020 No comments

I wish I hadn’t overslept. Now I’m late to class and I didn’t get to eat breakfast. That reading I meant to finish early this morning? It’s sitting in my backpack, untouched. My socks don’t match, I forgot my hat, and my dorm room is a mess from scrambling around this morning hurrying to get myself together. Today’s going to be the worst day. Or is it?

Some people have a natural tendency to notice the bad over the good. For example, in the situation above, these “bad” things may have happened, but why place so much weight on them? Why let them consume our thoughts, even dictate how the rest of our day will go? It is likely that a few good things happened throughout our day, too, but we sometimes tend not to notice the good as strongly as we notice the bad. Oftentimes, this negativity bias comes into play during our judgement and decision-making processes, causing the experiences we have to feel more negative than they may really be (i.e., I woke up late so now my whole day is ruined) (Ito et al., 1998).

(The bad seems to outweigh the good). https://twunroll.com/article/1267492380703428614

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I don’t see a difference. Oh, wait. Now I do!

November 19th, 2020 No comments

It’s Saturday morning. I wake up, have breakfast, listen to some music, and pack my bag for what I am about to do. Like many highschool and college athletes, I am preparing for perhaps the biggest day of the week – Game day! As I arrive at the field, I immediately start eyeballing today’s opponent. What type of team are they? Are they strong? Weak? Fast? Slow? My team I already know well, and I am confident that our different strengths will help us to win this game. As a team player on my college’s rugby team myself, I often find myself viewing the teams that we play against differently and less varied than my own team. My own team, of course, is made up of a diverse group of players with different personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. Other teams, however, I tend to have a more simple opinion of when we take the field. One cognitive phenomenon may be able to partially explain why this occurs.

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Bad News Sells: How our ‘Negativity Bias’ chooses Bad over Good

December 27th, 2019 No comments

Think about the last time you had a great day. Just kidding. Think about the last time you had a bad day. Then try and think a little further: was it really all bad, from the moment you got out of bed? Probably not; one bad thing happened, and then the good lunch you had with your friends and the job interview you aced just didn’t seem so important anymore. Or maybe you were at work, and your boss is gave you some well-deserved praise. Then she told you there was one line on your paperwork that needed to be tweaked, and before you knew it, you were beating yourself up for that one mistake for the rest of the week. Or maybe you went home after work and turned on the news. The coverage never surprises you: war, crime, disaster. Maybe you wonder why this is. Your answer? Negative news attracts more consumers (Nguyen & Claus, 2013).

Our brains tend to focus on and prioritize negative information, even when there is just as much (or more) positive information.

If you’ve had a bad day (that with a different perspective, could’ve been a great day), taken criticism a little too personally, or found yourself transfixed by a car accident on the highway, chances are you’ve experienced a cognitive bias called the Negativity Bias. The Negativity Bias refers to how we pay more attention to, and care more about, negative negative information than we do positive information. Read more…

I’m Not Biased… You Are!

November 26th, 2019 3 comments

Us vs. Them

Think about the last time you immediately doubted someone’s actions or statements. Maybe you thought they were only doing it for their own self-interest. Perhaps they stated a political opinion that opposes your own beliefs, or they agreed to complete a survey but only to be compensated with money, at least that’s why you think they did it. Let’s say you and a fellow classmate were talking about whether the new $200 million Colby College athletic complex is reasonable. You say no! The college could spend that money on so many other more beneficial things. However, your classmate says they are all for the new athletic center. You know they’re part of an athletic team so you think to yourself, “Yeah you’re in favor of it because you’re on a team and it would benefit you.” But did you actually take time to think about that person’s reasoning or did you just assume that they were biased and believe that you were the one being objective in the situation? We all may not be aware of it, but we usually expect others to have more personal bias and believe that we are able to judge situations objectively even though that may not be the case, and this is called naïve cynicism. Although this bias may seem really similar to naïve realism, they have some differences. The cognitive bias of naïve realism is the belief that a person can view the world objectively, and so can all the other people who agree with them and are “reasonable”, in their opinion. Naïve realism states that people believe everyone else who disagrees with them can’t help being subjective because they are all biased. Both of these biases are also clearly related to the bias blind spot, which is a phenomenon in which we are able to recognize how other people’s judgments are affected by their biases but fail to see those effects in ourselves. Even though we may be educated on these cognitive biases, we remain susceptible to them and are unable to recognize our personal biases.

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Rhymes and Reasons, why Poetry is Treason

November 26th, 2019 5 comments

Tale as old as time, why we believe rhymes. Does the truth reside or it is a lie? From childhood to adulthood,

Apples are good for you, but that doesn’t mean that you can avoid going to the doctor altogether! (https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-illustration-apple-day-keeps-doctor-away-funny-version-proverb-motivational-inspirational-poster-representing-sayings-simple-image49903569)

we are surrounded by rhymes of all kinds. First, they were nursery rhymes and now they take the forms of aphorisms and commercial slogans. Though we might not realize it, these rhymes have the ability to affect how we perceive the world. Given the choice between “woes unite foes” or “woes unite enemies,” participants generally found the former more accurate although the two phrases have similar meanings (McGlone & Tofighbakhsh, 2000). Why is that? The answer lies in a phenomenon called the Rhyme as Reason Effect, which means that we are more likely to believe something to be true if it rhymes. Think about it, how many times have you been told “i before e except after c” or “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” and thought that they were sound advice? Though these phrases are not necessarily correct, they are often repeated and believed to be true.

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Face it, You are Not THAT Important: The Spotlight Effect

November 26th, 2019 5 comments

Have you ever eaten alone in your college dining hall?

Now picture this: You walk into the dining hall alone, and you realize that most of the seats are already occupied by those sports teams, girls’ squads, and study groups… Everyone seems to be around with a bunch of people, except for you. You walk into this situation as if you break the “harmony”, and you feel like that everyone is staring at you or even secretly laughing at you — “Oh, she/he eats alone? Pathetic!” “Poor thing.” … But in reality, probably no one is actually watching you. They may not even notice that someone just came in. The feeling of “all eyes on you” occurs in other scenarios as well: when you answered a question wrong in your class, when you had a bad hair, or when you got a zit on your nose tip, etc. If you find these situations familiar, please don’t worry — you’ve just run into the Spotlight Effect! Read more…

Glory Days and Faded Heartbreaks: How Assessments of our Past Shape and Reflect Psychological Well-being in the Present.

November 26th, 2019 No comments

Peaked in High School or remembering it better than it was?

Before I present you with a base level summary of our current understanding of the psychological phenomenon known as Fading Affect Bias (FAB) and its relation to the conceptual system of autobiographical memory–complete with the associated empirical support, of course–I would first like to overanalyze some Bruce Springsteen lyrics. Don’t worry; it will all make sense soon enough. Read more…

Why You Should Take the Time to Rhyme: The Rhyme As Reason Effect

November 26th, 2019 2 comments

We’ve all been here…

Think back to your time in elementary school: you are having a running competition with your friends, and you have just won first place. However, your best friend, who got second place, is unhappy with the outcome and blurts out: “First is the worst, second is the best, third is the one with the treasure chest!” Immediately, any feelings of pride or accomplishment from winning the race vanish from your mind, and all you can think about is your friend’s outburst. You even start to believe that she is right… maybe getting second place really is better than getting first place.

 

Why do the presence of rhyming words in a sentence or phrase change our perception of the information received? Is it possible that we are more likely to believe information when it is presented through a rhyming aphorism, or concise statement, rather than when there is no rhyming at all? The Rhyme As Reason Effect seeks to answer this innate yet captivating phenomenon by suggesting: yes, using rhymes in sentences and phrases actually increases their perceived accuracy and trustworthiness when compared to sentences with the same semantic meaning, but without rhyming words.

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