Posts Tagged ‘Selective Attention’

The Sixth (not so good) Sense: Always Expecting the Best, Always Getting the Worst

May 11th, 2017 No comments

Have you ever found yourself hoping for a positive outcome but instead, you end up experiencing the worst possible outcome? For example, you have endlessly searched and finally found the perfect shampoo to combat your excessive dandruff when all of a sudden, the company decides to discontinue the product. Or when you finally have the confidence to exchange phone numbers with your all-time crush and you call but not only did they give you a wrong number, it is a rejection hotline number. Even those times when you finally make a doctor’s appointment for that 3 week long pain you have endured and when you arrive, you feel as brand new as you have ever felt before. Reflecting on these instances make us wonder why expecting a certain outcome can result in, not only the opposite outcome, but also the worst one. Furthermore, the real question is why? Why does it feel as if the worst always happens? It almost feels as if we wished upon the bad. Read more…

What do Ostriches and Finance Have in Common?

May 7th, 2017 3 comments

In college it is hard to save money. With the costs of textbooks, late night pizza, and online shopping, I know my bank account is looking a little scary. Often times I find myself avoiding looking at my bank app because I’m afraid to see what my bank statement is, but on payday it is the first thing that I check. Why is that?

This tendency – to avoid checking financial standings when we know that they could be bad – is known as “the ostrich effect,” and is defined as the tendency for people to ignore their problems with the hopes that they will just disappear, similarly to how an ostrich hides their head in the sand when they are hiding from danger, and this tendency is not seen only in broke college students.

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It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s a Car… and It’s After Me

April 15th, 2017 1 comment

Let’s say you’re in the market for a new car. You’ve visited dealerships, test driven many cars, and even asked your friends for their recommendations. One of your friends mentions a new car that has received

great reviews, so you Google the car to see what it’s all about. Suddenly, this car starts to show up everywhere. It is parked along the streets by your office. You find it throughout the parking lot of the grocery store and every car commercial seems to be about it. Don’t worry. You are not going crazy. The car is not following you. You are simply falling victim to the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon, or the frequency illusion. This illusion happens all the time and is characterized by paying attention to a new thing and it subsequently seeming to be everywhere. Arnold Zwicky coined this phenomenon in 2006 and explained that it happens due to two psychological processes: selective attention and confirmation bias.

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