Cognitive distortions that are common to almost every person.

Cognitive distortions that are common to almost every person.

We all react to the world around us in different ways. At the same time, there are things that most people perceive distortedly, due to their subjective ideas, as well as stereotypes and other factors that have developed in the process of life.

It is calledcognitive distortions.Which ones are the most common?

Distortions that help to cope with a surplus of information

Buster Benson, in his article “Cogntive bias cheet sheet”, writes that since the world around us carries too much information for us, our brain, adapting to this situation, selects only information that can ever come in handy.

For example, it is easier for us to remember what we already had to memorize before, or what we used to meet often. At the same time, various strange, funny, outwardly attractive things catch our attention more than any usual and ordinary ones. Our brain tends to exaggerate their importance in comparison with ordinary information.We tend to compare the new with the old, and not evaluate it by itself. For example, if we bought a new refrigerator, then we will certainly follow whether it works better or worse than the previous one.

We are interested in what meets our convictions, but we tend to “ignore” what contradicts them. So, if we are sure that some person is very good, we may not point out his negative features. But it will be the opposite, if we treat a person badly.

We would rather notice flaws in others than in ourselves. It often seems to us that other people misunderstand reality. Then, as we ourselves perceive it distorted.

Distortions to cope with the problem of understanding the world

To survive in this world, we need to draw conclusions about the laws of its existence. However, only a small part of information about it is available to us. Therefore, we tend to fill in the gaps in the picture of the world, using the information we already have and our conjectures. For example, we will look for patterns between disparate facts. Let's say we recall the details that weren't there, we believe that certain events are not accidental, we believe in luck-bad luck and so on.

We can also fill informational gaps with the help of previously formed stereotypes, generalizations and experience. We more often accept what we know or like. We may like the thoughts expressed by our friend, but we can meet the ideas of a man whom we know little about.

Our subconscious mind tends to mistakenly determine the likelihood of any event in the absence of accurate information about them. Therefore, we believe in different magic numbers, we are sure that we will not crash on the plane immediately after the crash of another plane, etc. etc. We believe that we guess what other people think. In this way, we try to model the thinking of another person. Let's say if we think a lot about him, then we are sure that he thinks about us too.

We strive to project our current mindset into the past and the future. However, we are not able to correctly determine how quickly or slowly events unfold in time. Therefore, many of us tend to distort the assessment of the consequences of certain events, embellish the past or exaggerate its impact on the future.

Distortions that help us respond quickly

We often have to make various decisions, sometimes in a short time. However, we do not always have enough information to make the right choice. And in order to act, we must be confident in ourselves, in the correctness of our thoughts and actions. Although this confidence is often only self-assurance, it gives us an impulse for action.

We prefer to focus on quick results, rather than achieving what takes time: a bird is better than a crane in the sky.

We will rather identify ourselves with specific people, and not with anonymous or groups of people. We prefer to learn from the experience of a friend Vasya or Petit, than some abstract individuals.
We strive to bring the matter to the end, if we have already spent time and effort on it. So, even if there are a lot of reasons to quit, we will look for a reason to complete what we have begun.

We wish to maintain the status quo. And when choosing, we stop at the most familiar of two evils or the least risky option, although it may turn out to be incorrect. A person generally prefers simple and unambiguous solutions to complex and uncertain, even if the more difficult path in our view ultimately saves us time and energy.So, a person who is not accustomed to using online stores, rather, will look for the right product in a regular store or on the market.

Distortions that help remember the right information

We have to manipulate information so that we can remember it. It is easier to remember generalizations or some key points than specific nuances. We also tend to edit our memories by adding details that weren’t in reality, and discarding details that seem insignificant to us. We can ignore particulars in order to build and consolidate general provisions. However, this sometimes leads to very negative consequences. We tend to reduce events to certain basic elements, which are usually only memorized. As a rule, the brain retains the information that seemed important at a certain point. However, subsequently the value of this information can be leveled.

I would like to add that it is cognitive distortions that help us survive in this complex and ambiguous world, so it is hardly possible to get rid of them completely.

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