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We Actively Avoid Information That Can Help Us

https://hbr.org/2020/09/we-actively-avoid-information-that-can-help-us

hbr.org

We Actively Avoid Information That Can Help Us
When knowledge might damage our self-esteem, we often opt for willful ignorance.

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Rejecting useful information

Rejecting useful information

We tend to think most people should be eager to get information that can benefit them. But research reveals that up to 50 % of people declined helpful information.

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The way we interact with new information

  • A study found that when people feel they won't be able to act on the information being offered, they are more likely to reject it.
  • People that are more accepting of risk and those who focus on the future are more likely to seek information.
  • Men are slightly more information seeking than women.
  • People who are more curious tend to want information more frequently.

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Why people avoid information

People tend to avoid information when it might hurt their self-image.

Research showed that in the workplace, 40% of people didn't want to know how much time they spent slacking off; 20% didn't want to know how their coworkers would rate their strengths and weaknesses.

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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 i...

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.

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.

Bottomless visual

Bottomless visual

The world in the 21st century is the same it used to be. It smells about the same, sound pollution is pretty stable. But the spill of information and distraction that comes to our vision has grown ...

Information overload

  • Information overload was a term coined in the mid-1960s by Bertram Gross, a social scientist.
  • In 1970, writer Alvin Toffler popularized the idea of information overload as part of a set of predictions about eventual dependence on technology.
  • Another set of academics wrote that information overload occurs when the amount of input exceeds its processing capacity.
  • A 2011 study found that on a typical day, Americans were taking in five times as much information as they had done 15 years earlier.
  • A 2019 study identified that our attention span is shrinking, probably because of digital overload.

Technology pushed too much

It is probably too late to restore our attention span to that of our grandparents. After a decade of smartphone use and social media, the harm is perhaps irreversible.

Part of the problem in this age of overload is the constant insistence of notifications that seeks our immediate attention. When the body jumps to attention and for nothing of particular worth, it can be confusing.

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The Dark Side Of Self Control

The Dark Side Of Self Control

Agreeable, organized individuals seem to have a suppressed, dark side in their personality.

Model citizens, and people with high self-control, and those who are resistant to impulsive behav...

Self Control And Moral Character

People with high levels of self-control are generally seen to be healthy, well-rounded individuals who are ideally less likely to act violently or aggressively.

New research shows that this behaviour pattern may be to gain acceptance and tread the social norms as a means to one’s end, being selfish and self-centred in private.

High Self-Control

People with high self-control have a surprising behavioural trait of being shrewd and cruel according to various studies:

  1. They are more likely to cover up an anti-social act to avoid getting caught, like for dangerous driving.
  2. They ended up being keener to kill hundreds of bugs in a grinder, without any feeling of remorse.
  3. They electrocuted their opponents in a TV game to a much higher degree than others, not knowing that the electrocution is being feigned by the contestant.

But more research needs to be done before we slot someone’s moral values and behavioural traits into predictable patterns.