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Posts Tagged ‘Automatic Processes’

The Real Reason Why Freshmen are Always Early and Seniors are Always Late to School

November 26th, 2019 2 comments

The First Day of Freshman Year

Imagine it is the morning before the first day of your freshman year of high school. You have only visited your new school once before for orientation so the drive there is unfamiliar.  After getting dressed and eating your breakfast, you determine that you need to leave by 7:20am to get to school by 7:50am.  As planned, you get in the car at 7:20am and drive to school. The drive seems to take forever but somehow you manage to get to school ten minutes earlier than you had originally planned.  Embarrassed by how early you are, you ask your Mom if she can wait in the parking lot until it is socially acceptable to arrive at school.  She agrees and finds a spot to park.  You recline your seat all the way hoping that no one will see you through the car window.  While you wait, you wonder why you got to school so early.

Fast forward to the morning before the first day of your senior year of high school.  Now that you are a senior, you drive yourself to school.  The route to school is no longer new and unfamiliar.  Sometimes you wonder if you could drive there with your eyes closed.  After getting dressed and eating breakfast, you determine you need to leave by 7:35am to get to school by 7:50am.  The drive seems to fly by but somehow you manage to pull in to the parking lot at 7:55 am.  With only five minutes to spare instead of ten minutes, you sprint from the parking lot to class. As you slide into your seat just as the bell rings, you wonder why you got to school so late.

The First Day of Senior Year

The real reason you find yourself waiting in the parking lot on the first day of freshman year and racing to class on the first day of senior year is because of the well-travelled road effect. The well-travelled road  effect makes traveling unfamiliar routes seem longer and traveling familiar routes seem shorter.  The drive to school on the first day of your freshman year felt longer because it was unfamiliar while the drive to school on the first day of school of your senior year felt shorter because it was familiar.  This difference in perceived duration is caused by how your attention is allocated (Avni-Babad & Ritov, 2003). Read more…

Did you really know it all along??

November 26th, 2019 No comments

Your sibling’s face…
https://gfycat.com/artisticmeatyfennecfox-matt-leblanc

“I KNEW IT!!!!!” your sibling gleefully exclaims after the clock hits 0:00 and your favorite team has just lost to your least favorite team. You start thinking, how could they possibly know that team was going to win? The teams had similar records with equally talented players and you are left glumly wishing you hadn’t bet $10 on the game. This kind of scenario happens all the time and is pretty hard to avoid.  For instance, you may be amazed that your friend who walks carelessly across the ice is surprised when she falls. Of course she was going to fall! The key pattern in these instances is that the feelings of frustration or foreknowledge occur after the event. Often times, we believe that we knew something would happen because we assess the situation after it occurs and reflect upon it with information we did not previously have. This common phenomenon is known as the hindsight bias. Read more…

“I totally nailed it and I am pretty sure I did better than most people”- The Pitfall of Overconfidence

November 26th, 2019 No comments

Have you ever been disappointed by your exam score when you thought you actually did pretty well on it? Or have you ever overestimated how sufficiently you have prepared for a test and panicked as you read through the actual exam and find questions more difficult than expected? If you have had these experiences, you have been a victim of overconfidence effect.

Although we hardly realize such errors or often feel reluctant to admit them, we are all familiar with the mismatch between self-evaluation and actual outcomes. This phenomenon is called the overconfidence effect, a cognitive bias that occurs when people inaccurately evaluate their own performance as above average or higher in accuracy or quality than it actually is.

Overestimation of Capacity                    [https://advanced-hindsight.com/blog/b-e-dogs-overconfidence/]

People have faith in their erroneous self-evaluation about a variety of targets, including but not limited to application of factual knowledge, as in a college exam scenario. Psychologists have found that people tend to position themselves above others when assessing their own capacity. Overplacement is explicit not only in self-estimation about skills like safe driving but also in self-positioning within a community when participants see themselves as more popular and sociable than their friends (Svenson, 1981; Zuckerman & Jost, 2001).     Read more…

Rhyming for a Reason: Why Rhyming Slogans are More Effective in Communicating Big Ideas

November 26th, 2019 2 comments

If you’ve been to a college, or interacted with a college student, you know how demanding the academic requirements are. Would you believe me if I said, “C’s get diplomas”? Sure. That makes sense, after a minute of thinking… But what if I had said, “C’s get degrees”? Boom. Got it. You’ve probably heard that one before, and there’s a reason why. The second statement comes across as more true than the first even though both convey the same message. This experience is called the Rhyme as Reason effect.

The Rhyme as Reason Effect (also called the Eaton-Rosen Effect) is the phenomenon that occurs

“A drunk mind speaks a sober heart” — Jean-Jaques Rousseau

when a person believes that a saying is more accurate when it rhymes. By contrast, a saying that means the same thing but does not rhyme is judged as less accurate. For example, the saying “What sobriety conceals, alcohol reveals” is judged as more accurate than “What sobriety hides, alcohol reveals” or “What sobriety conceals, alcohol shows.” So now you may be asking, why does this happen? Is it just because rhyming phrases are more fun to say, or is something else going on? Let’s think about this.

 

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Is the “bad stuff” stronger than the “good stuff”?

April 26th, 2018 1 comment

Imagine that you are out in the city with some friends that you haven’t seen in a while. You have just finished a delicious brunch together and have had a morning full of fun and catching up with one another. You take a walk outside and soak up some sun before heading back to get some work done at home. When you leave your friends and get to the train station, you hear an announcement that the trains are delayed and you are stuck in the crowded station waiting for almost an hour. You become frustrated and upset, and by the time you get home, the bad experience at the train station weighs on your mind more heavily than does your morning with your friends.

Does this scenario seem plausible to you? Do you ever feel like the bad experiences in your life always seem to outweigh the good? If so, you have experienced the negativity bias, or negativity effect. The negativity bias states that negative events are more impactful on an individual’s mental state than neutral or positive events. These negative events could include unpleasant thoughts, emotions, or occurrences. Most of us are susceptible to the negativity bias, but certain conditions can make one even more vulnerable.

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Are you SURE that happened or was that that just a (false) memory?

April 26th, 2018 3 comments

Imagine this. You’re in a convenience store and are getting ready to pay for some delicious Toll-House cookie dough (YUM). Suddenly, a man runs in wearing a mask and brandishing what appears to be a gun, so you decide to quickly hide near the front of the store behind some of the shelves. He demands for the cash in the register and the terrified workers quickly hand over the cash. You are so well hidden that the robber does not realize that there is anybody else in the store, and so as he is on his way out, he quickly removes his mask so that he can better see to escape. For a brief, fleeting couple of seconds, you get a perfect view of the man’s face. A few days later, the cops bring in some pictures of potential suspects to identify, and you are adamant that it was definitely a certain man in the pictures. However, the cops later realize that the man has an air-tight alibi from that day, which means that your identification of the criminal was incorrect. How could this happen?

This would’ve been a less scary robber to identify.

Well, thanks to cognitive psychology, we know that this misidentification probably happened due to the phenomenon called false memory. A false memory is when somebody has either a recollection of an event that did not actually occur, or when somebody remembers an event very differently from how it actually occurred. Essentially, no matter how sure you are that you remembered something correctly, there is a still a chance that you could be wrong. Crazy, right? So, next time you’re promising someone you are remembering some event correctly – just think and wonder how solid this promise actually is! Read more…

Keep it simple, silly. Design and the framing effect.

April 26th, 2018 No comments

Cognitive psychology, the study of the human mental processes, is an area of study that influences many fields beyond just psychology. One specific interdisciplinary field that heavily benefits from cognitive psychology research is user experience design. User experience design is a field that focuses on improving the accessibility (usable by a wide variety of people) , usability (easiness to use and learnability), and satisfaction of using a product. Whether creating an e-commerce website or an artificial home assistant, a well-designed positive user experience is at the forefront of success. However, there are many different ways in which great product, website, and interface designs can be viewed in a negative light by a user. One of the ways that user experience design can be negatively affected is by framing. Imagine that you have an online apparel business and a potential customer encounters two different scenarios:

  • Purchase the item at the full retail price of $100
  • Purchase the item at a 50% discount of a retail price of $200

While both options end up costing the same, customers would more likely purchase the item under the second scenario. Why is this the case? The first scenario frames the purchase of the item as a loss of $100. Conversely, the second scenario is framed so that the customer has the illusion that they are saving $100 by making the purchase. They are more likely to purchase the item because it is framed as a gain. This human bias is known as the framing effect.

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Absentmindedness: Why am I so bor…. oh wait I love this song!

April 26th, 2018 No comments

Do you ever find yourself bored for no reason? Wishing you were somewhere else doing something else? Or how about doing more than one thing at once? For example, you are driving…searching for your favorite song knowing full well that scrolling through your playlist while driving is dangerous. (click here to learn more about the perils of distracted driving).

Taken from imgflip.com

This humorous clip points to how multitasking while driving results in errors. In this situation, you are attending to two different tasks at once. We find ourselves in these situations more frequently than we like to admit. This has a lot to do with how and where we direct our attention. Interests and desires impact attentional control. The more we are interested in a task, the more attention we give to it. Attentional control is affected by how much attention we have to give each task.  We, only have a finite amount of attentional resources, and each task requires different levels of attention. This can lead to the cognitive bias, absentmindedness, which is the failure to attend to a task resulting in mistakes and forgetful behavior particularly when two tasks are being attempted simultaneously. A point of distinction is that multitasking which leads to absentmindedness is not a positive attribute and one we should avoid. Read more…

All I need are my own expectations

April 25th, 2018 No comments

You are an avid fan of experiments and the scientists behind those experiments. Your whole life is dedicated to researching, learning and understanding the results and what that means in the science world. It comes to your attention that the experiments you were deeply obsessed with are being criticized and questioned for lack of truth and transparency. Very curious as to why everything is being questioned, you start t look deeper into the scientists and the experiments and found out they were experiencing a phenomenon called Expectation bias which is also known as experimenters bias.
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Tip-of-the-… wait what’s that word again?

April 25th, 2018 No comments

You are at a coffee shop with your friend telling them a story about something funny that happened in class last week, you remember all the details perfectly but when you get to the name of a student in the class you get stuck! You know that you know their name, the professor calls on them all of the time, but yet you just can’t remember. In situations such as these, some might say “It’s on the tip-of-my-tongue!”

sites.psu.edu

There’s no predicting when a TOT state will occur! sites.psu.edu

This feeling of confidence that you know the word and feeling as though the word is just within reach is an example of the tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon (TOT). As most people have experienced, TOT states occur often, and there is no predicting when they will happen (Kikyo & Ohki, 2001). Although everyone experiences this, as is true with most things in life, TOT states become more prevalent with age. It’s expected that younger adults experience these states approximately once a week, but older adults often experience TOT states once a day (Radel & Fournier, 2017). Because we have all found ourselves in this state of frustration, lets explore why and when these states occur, and what we can do about it.

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