You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Fac, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You’re Deluding Yourself – David McRaney
You Are Not So Smart is a captivating exploration of self-delusion, revealing how our brains deceive us in various aspects of our lives. From social media interactions to personal beliefs and memory, David McRaney examines 47 ways in which we lack objectivity and rationality.
The Illusion of Ownership
We tend to attach more value to things we own compared to identical items owned by others.
This is called the endowment effect, and it leads to irrational decision-making when buying, selling or trading possessions.
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Our brains selectively filter information according to our pre-existing beliefs and desires.
This creates a confirmatory bias, causing us to perceive the world in ways that confirm our assumptions and ignore contradictory evidence.
The Illusion of Knowledge
We often believe we understand complex ideas and processes when we don’t.
This illusion of knowledge is exacerbated by oversimplification and reliance on generalizations, resulting in shallow cognitive processing and ignoring nuance.
Our memories are susceptible to distortion, with emotion and context influencing recall.
We often fill in gaps with fabricated information and are vulnerable to suggestion.
This leads to the formation of false memories and the misconception that such memories are accurate.
Social Media Delusion
Social media creates a skewed perception of reality by accentuating highlights and promoting a curated version of life.
This, in turn, can trigger social comparison and feelings of inadequacy, with many users unaware of the disparity between online personas and real experiences.
We tend to attribute success to our abilities and failures to external factors, leading to an inflated sense of self-worth and inability to learn from mistakes.
Self-serving bias hinders personal growth and can strain relationships as blame is deflected onto others.
The Halo Effect
Our impressions of people are influenced by a single trait or characteristic, which impacts our overall perception of them.
Positive traits overshadow negative ones and vice versa, causing us to form inaccurate judgments based on superficial features, like attractiveness.
The Sunk Cost Fallacy
Investing time, effort, or resources into a decision can make it difficult to abandon or reverse, despite negative outcomes.
The sunk cost fallacy compels us to be overly committed to past choices, preventing rational evaluations of current circumstances.
We tend to favor members of our social, cultural, or ideological groups, often leading to discrimination and bias against those who don’t belong.
This behavior is rooted in evolutionary psychology, resulting in a strong bias to maintain group identity and cohesion.