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Unstrange Phenomena

06 July 2009

Top 10 Thinking Traps Exposed - How to Foolproof Your Mind, part 1



From Denny: From our friends over at the litemind blog comes yet another great article about how best to use our minds efficiently.

From Luciano, the author:

"Our minds set up many traps for us. Unless we’re aware of them, these traps can seriously hinder our ability to think rationally, leading us to bad reasoning and making stupid decisions. Features of our minds that are meant to help us may, eventually, get us into trouble.

Here are the first 5 of the most harmful of these traps and how to avoid each one of them.

1. The Anchoring Trap: Over-Relying on First Thoughts

“Is the population of Turkey greater than 35 million? What’s your best estimate?” Researchers asked this question to a group of people, and the estimates were seldom too far off 35 million. The same question was posed to a second group, but this time using 100 million as the starting point. Although both figures were arbitrary, the estimates from the ‘100 million’ group were, without fail, concomitantly higher than those in the ‘35 million’ group. (for the curious, here’s the answer.)

Lesson: Your starting point can heavily bias your thinking: initial impressions, ideas, estimates or data “anchor” subsequent thoughts.

This trap is particularly dangerous as it’s deliberately used in many occasions, such as by experienced salesmen, who will show you a higher-priced item first, “anchoring” that price in your mind, for example.

What can you do about it?

•Always view a problem from different perspectives. Avoid being stuck with a single starting point. Work on your problem statement before going down a solution path.

•Think on your own before consulting others. Get as much data as possible and explore some conclusions by yourself before getting influenced by other people’s anchors.

•Seek information from a wide variety of sources. Get many opinions and broaden your frame of reference. Avoid being limited to a single point of view."

By Luciano Passuello @ litemind

For the rest of this intriguing article just click on the title link, great reading!

critical thinking decision making psychology

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