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Archive for the ‘Cognitive Bias’ Category

POV: You are in 2022—nostalgic rosy retrospection in the time of Covid-19

April 25th, 2022 No comments

Have you ever watched those short videos on Tik-Tok with titles like “POV: You are in 20XX” that are supposed to invoke nostalgic emotions in you? When such videos were recommended to me and I scrolled through their comments quickly, I often saw people saying things like “Everything used to be better before Covid” and “I would do anything to go back to 2016”. The number of such videos increased rapidly in recent years after the pandemic started with a speed so fast that makes me wonder what causes people to linger over those “good old days”. After all, are those days really as good as people assume they are, and why did such videos start to go viral in the pandemic era? Well, consider the saying “look through rose-colored glasses”—this is what psychologists have found about the way people look into their past, and the effect of Covid-19 on people’s memories seem to have deepened the “rosiness” of those glasses.

Rosy retrospection is the idea that we see the past through rose hinted glasses.
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Dogs Are My Favorite Kind of People. Anthropomorphism as a Tool for Animal Activism

April 25th, 2022 No comments

 

Have you ever noticed that some people treat their dogs like their children? In my house, we treat our dogs like family members. They have human names, they sleep in bed with me, and we even all wear matching Christmas pajamas. When I talk about my dog Henry, I explain his anxiety, his grumpiness, and his great need for snuggles. When I talk about my dog Georgia, I explain her clinginess, her obsession with my dad, and her toddler-like antics. I talk about them as if they are other humans living in the home. Even while writing this blog post, I am dog-sitting for my friend’s parents. The parents left us pages of specific instructions talking through the dogs’ physical and emotional needs, just like a parent would for their children’s babysitter. 

Henry in his Christmas Pajamas

I don’t often think about why we do these things, because treating dogs like family seems so normal. But when we were learning about cognitive biases in my Cognitive Psychology course, I started to see the relationship between cognitive processes and this concept of dogs as family. The way that many people treat dogs is an example of anthropomorphism. Anthropomorphism, by definition, is the attribution of human characteristics to nonhuman entities like dogs. Many people view animals such as dogs and cats as companions, similar to human friends. When we see animals as similar to ourselves, we are more likely to treat them better. I am going to walk you through the benefits of anthropomorphizing animals, specifically how it can help to reduce animal cruelty and increase the ethical treatment of animals.

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The Dunning-Kruger Effect: You (Probably) Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

April 25th, 2022 No comments
This YouGov survey set off a flurry of surprise on Twitter last fall. 1 in 8 men seem to think that they could score a point against Serena Williams!

If you spend any time on Twitter, you may have seen a tweet last fall reacting to a YouGov survey. The survey, conducted by the British market research firm YouGov, asked people about their tennis abilities and how they thought they’d perform in a match against Serena Williams. 12% of men surveyed said that if they were playing their very best tennis, they think they’d be able to win a point off of Serena Williams. 12%!!! That’s 1 in 8!! These are average, everyday British men, talking about scoring a point against the tennis player with the most Grand Slam titles in their career. In reality, these people would be lucky to even touch one of the balls hit at them by Serena Williams. So why do they have this overinflated sense of their tennis abilities? This is only one example of the Dunning-Kruger effect, a metacognitive idea that influences many aspects of our everyday lives, from wine-tasting to practicing medicine.

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“Stocks only go up, $TSLA to the moon” — Elon Musk (probably)

December 3rd, 2020 No comments

A graph of $TSLA (Tesla Inc.) stock price going up.

A graph of $TSLA (Tesla Inc.) stock price going up.

I hope that you haven’t put all your life savings on $TSLA after seeing that juicy green graph. Hopefully, you won’t open the Robinhood app on your phone before reading this article. Even if you are one of the teenagers contributing to Robinhood’s 4.3 million daily average trades, I suggest you read this post before you go make another trade from your (or worse, your mom’s) life savings.

Here is a simple game for you. From what you can observe in the graph above, where do you think Tesla stock will go next. Would you buy some stocks? What about if you already had some Tesla stock. Would you hold, buy more, or sell? There is a lot of information missing from the graph, however, this type of graph remains the most important visual information that everyone sees first when. If you are a reader of this blog, you can probably guess that our primate brain isn’t as rational as we would like it to be!

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Your Horoscope for Today: You may download or delete a horoscope app on your phone

November 21st, 2020 No comments

Real footage of exhausted, Gen Z college kids acting flabbergast at zodiacs predicting their lives

Link to meme:https://images.app.goo.gl/Y4Kmu1R9xujSdmeP9

Maybe you have read somewhere that those who take astrology seriously are suckers(the meme world has verified this information as you can see in the image next to the this post) and are prone to a variety of biases. Maybe you yourself have made fun of that one friend in the group who seems to take the “star sign thing” way too seriously and who is ready to choose a life partner by their chart compatibility. And maybe despite that, like me and countless other people, when you come across a “reading” or a horoscope prediction, you read every word intently to see if it matches you. And maybe you have done this a few times: sucked your teeth when you read the horoscope for a day that has just ended but see that not a single thing on it lines up with the day you have just had. And maybe after that, you swore never to read the damn things again. But if I checked right now, it has probably just been a few days since you opened the notifications from an astrology app like Costar or ran a google search for character traits of others like you who were born within the month-long interval that determines your shared “sun sign. Life right now is so unpredictable so we hold on to sources of predictions because SOME idea of what is going to happen would be nice. But astrology’s hold is not due to that reason alone. Humans are susceptible to many biases in our thinking and in this blog post, I’ll break down our shared mental weak links that have even science majors picking out partners and friends according to their sun sign compatibility.

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Is raising a puppy actually as much fun as you think it is? Rosy Retrospection will lead you to say yes.

November 20th, 2020 No comments

Do you really want to adopt that puppy?

During the summer of 2020 Covid-19 quarantine, one of the most popular ideas floating around online to help pass the time was to adopt or foster a new animal. But, did people remember how difficult that task actually is? Do they remember all those early mornings, pee puddles, and chewed up furniture? Rosy retrospection may explain why people were likely to adopt despite the difficulty of raising and training a new animal. Rosy retrospection is the process by which we remember past events as generally better than they were by forgetting or downplaying the negative aspects. Before I get into all the definitions, think about whether you have ever participated in something that is difficult mentally or physically while you do it, but then somehow when you look back on it, it doesn’t seem so bad and you’d do it again? This could be adopting an animal, running a marathon, or helping a friend move. In the moment, you are aware of the discomfort and negative aspects, but in the future you are willing to do it again because you remember the best parts of the experience. I’m going to be using the example of raising a new puppy to highlight how rosy retrospection and a few other aspects of memory can change how we view the past. 

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