Lying To Ourselves

I just discovered a great blog titled ‘You are not so Smart: A Celebration of Self-Delusion’ (h/t TC). Its posts explain to you all the ways what you think you know is total bullshit.

Example: Fanboyism. Excerpt:

The Misconception: You prefer the things we own over the things we don’t because we made rational choices when we bought them.

The Truth: You prefer the things you own because you rationalize your past choices to protect your sense of self.

Choice Supportive Bias is a big part of being a person, it pops up all the time when you buy things.

It works like this: You have several options, like say for a new television. Before you make a choice you tend to compare and contrast all the different qualities of all the televisions on the market.

Which is better, Samsung or Sony, plasma or lcd, 1080p or 1080i – ugh, so many variables!

You eventually settle on one option, and after you make your decision you then look back and rationalize your actions by believing your television was the best of all the televisions you could have picked.

It’s purely emotional, the moment you pick. People with brain damage to their emotional centers who have been rendered into Spock-like beings of pure logic find it impossible to decide between things as simple as which cereal to buy. They stand transfixed in the aisle, contemplating every element of their potential decision – the calories, the shapes, the net weight – everything. They can’t pick because they have no emotional connection to anything, no emotional motivations.

So is there any way for me to combat my total certainty that my MacBook is better than any PC laptop? Actually, yes (my emphasis).

After choosing between two alternatives, people perceive the chosen alternative as more attractive and the rejected alternative as less attractive. This postdecisional dissonance effect was eliminated by cleaning one’s hands. Going beyond prior purification effects in the moral domain, physical cleansing seems to more generally remove past concerns, resulting in a metaphorical “clean slate” effect.

Yes, you got that right. Our choice supportive bias disappears if we wash our hands after the purchase.

The human mind is a weird and wild place.

PS I just washed my hands and I still think my MacBook is #1. Because it is.

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1 Comment

Filed under science

One response to “Lying To Ourselves

  1. Bug

    I dunno man, what does it say about me that when i buy something i’m fairly sure that i did NOT get the best thing out there? Then i sulk about it for a while, but eventually grow to love (or at least not hate) it.

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