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Why Do People Avoid Facts That Could Help Them?

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-do-people-avoid-facts-that-could-help-them/

scientificamerican.com

Why Do People Avoid Facts That Could Help Them?
Scientific American is the essential guide to the most awe-inspiring advances in science and technology, explaining how they change our understanding of the world and shape our lives.

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Avoiding Facts

Avoiding Facts

Many people avoid facts even if it is beneficial for them to know. This strange quirk that defies logic is due to many psychological factors.

Human beings often avoid learning new information, if learning can cause pain. This even implies to health information that can be extremely beneficial for them.

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Aversion From Bad News

Human beings feel their hopes are shattered when they learn about the outcome of a certain illness or maybe the date of their death, or divorce, preferring to remain aloof and hopeful.

While mostly this applies only to bad news, there are certain cases when individuals prefer not to know about something which may be positive as well.

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The Reason For Avoiding Facts

Information avoidance, even if knowing can help us make smarter choices, is a way for us to forego some of the sufferings that may be caused by us knowing about what the future brings, and allows us to remain in a state of suspense and wonder.

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E-mail rudeness is a pervasive problem

E-mail rudeness is a pervasive problem

Studies show that more than ninety percent of professionals surveyed admitted that they had experienced disrespectful e-mails at work.

Rude e-mails are on the rise. The e-mail may ...

The derogatory or condescending e-mail

Electronic communication is efficient, but it's detached. Sitting at a computer screen, the need for tact and a respectful tone disappears.

  • Being on the receiving end of such impoliteness can create lingering stress and negative emotions. The recipient may find it harder to stay engaged at work. The stress associated with e-mail rudeness can spill over into family life and, like a chain reaction, can send stress signals to other people.
  • A subtler form of aggression is failing to reply to a request, in effect giving others the "silent treatment." Not responding to an email leaves people hanging and struggling with uncertainty.

Remember your netiquette

With remote work on the rise, the use of electronic communication has allowed incivility to thrive.

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  • For employees, the best option to cope is to unplug from work after-hours.
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Failure leads to underestimation

Failure leads to underestimation

We have all encountered failure, be it failing a final exam, or a job interview. We're told that overcoming difficult obstacles will make a future success much sweeter.

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"Sour-grape" vs "The grass is greener on the other side"

  • "The grass is always greener on the other side" suggests that people spend much of their time longing for things they don't have.
  • In Aesop's fable of "The Fox and the Grapes", the fox walked away from the grapes he desired because he could not reach it, concluding that the grapes were probably sour anyway. This tale teaches that failure can make future success appear less attractive.

In a study, people who see grass as greener on the other side predict higher happiness with future success. Participants that reacted like Aesop's fox would try to distance themselves from failure. It suggests that initial failure made people underestimate how good it would feel to succeed.

The “sour-grape effect”

Named after "The Fox and the Grapes", the sour-grape effect is a systematic tendency to downplay the value of unattainable goals and rewards. We underestimate our future happiness because we don't always know what we want, and adjust our desires to what appears within reach.

People will rather devalue a goal than devalue the self. It means that people could miss out on the chance to try again because what once seemed impossible might now be within reach.

Early theories about dreaming

Early theories about dreaming

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The relationship our dreams have with our memories

Recent studies suggest we employ the same neurophysiological mechanisms while dreaming that we use to construct and recall memories while we are awake.

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Dreams help us process emotions

Dreams seem to help us to process emotions by constructing memories of them. The experience in our dreams may not be real, but the emotions we experience are real.

Our dream stories try to strip emotion out of some experiences by creating a memory of it. This mechanism seems to fulfil an important role because it helps us process our emotions.