Your Brain Can Jump to Incorrect Conclusions

How our brain works without us realizing it often is hugely beneficial, but it also creates some faulty conclusions at times. The video gives a good synopsis of the quick intuitive leaps our brains make all the time. These are extremely helpful, but occasionally lead us to fall into traps.

I have discussed these idea before: The Illusion of Knowledge, Optical and Other Illusions. By understanding some of the traps our brain can fall into, we can improve our decision making.

By learning that our “system 1 brain” will jump to immediate answers but may make some risky assumptions in seeking the quickest answer we can learn to question that conclusion. I find building the case for that conclusion (and questioning the assumptions) is helpful.

The trickiest part is figuring out when to apply more conscious effort to exploring the options. I do not believe the quip “don’t assume” is useful. We have to make hundred of assumptions every day or we couldn’t make any progress. If I don’t assume the floor will support my weight I have to be very careful getting out of bed, then the stairway, then whether food is safe to eat, whether the brakes still work on my car…

We have to assume. But it is helpful if we can intelligently question our immediate conclusions if it is important to do so. Optical illusion are interesting, most often the mistakes our brain makes are not important to us. But if such a conclusion was important, knowing to question your system 1 response will give you the chance to improve.

Related: We are Being Ruined by the Best Efforts of People Who are Doing the Wrong ThingHow We Know What We KnowFlaws in Understanding Psychology Lead to Flawed Management DecisionsAlbert Einstein, Marylin Monroe Hybrid Image

2 thoughts on “Your Brain Can Jump to Incorrect Conclusions

  1. Robert Drescher

    Hi John

    Great suggestion we often forget to slow down even momentarily to justify the assumptions we make. Like you point out we rely upon making them, but all to often we forget to slow down and justify them when they can really matter.

    It can help a great deal if you have associates around you that think some what differently they can often challenge some of the assumptions we all jump to. Getting fresh opinions is a good way to prevent making decisions on the wrong assumption. It can also help if you develop the habit of trying to always identify at least two possiblilties causes or solutions even if you may feel sure you are right. But either way you need to have ans use enough common sense as to know when and when not to make snap decisions.

    Reply
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