The Blue Dot Effect - We Are Conditioned To Look For Negatives - Deepstash
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Instinctive Decisions

Instinctive Decisions

  • We all make dozens of judgments every day, from deciding whether our clothes match to figuring out whether the dog down the street is a threat.
  • Our decision making and assessments are not based on any hard and fast rules. Most of them are instinctive & based on subconscious triggers.


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The Blue Dot Experiment

The Blue Dot Experiment

  • For the experiment involved Researchers asking participants to identify “Blue” Dots from a series of a thousand Dots, colored blue & purple. Initially, the participants identified the color pretty accurately.

However, progressively researchers made sure the frequency of Blue dots reduced dramatically.

  • The participants reacted by wrongly selecting as Blue Dots those that were shades of purple. Their classification of Blue expanded in proportion to the decrease in the Blue Dots on the screen. As the occurrence of blue dots decreased, their definition of blue expanded. Prevalence affected the judgment of the respondents. 

The researchers termed this phenomenonprevalence-induced concept change.”


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  • In further experiments, the researchers found the same effect when participants had to identify aggressive faces from a group that ranged from ‘very threatening’ to ‘not very threatening,’ and again when separating unethical research proposals from ethical ones.
  • Even when the occurrence of “problems” (threatening faces/unethical proposals) went down, participants began to misread friendly and neutral faces as threatening and ethical proposals as fraudulent.


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  • Our mind is conditioned to look for threats and issues, regardless of how safe or comfortable our environment is. The better things get, the more we nitpick on even the smallest of issues.
  • Our emotional reactions are not determined by the size of our problems. Our minds amplify our problems to fit the degree of stress we expect to experience. Success and material progress do not necessarily relax us or make us feel better about our future.


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Overcoming the Blue Dot Effect

Overcoming the Blue Dot Effect

Most of us are leading more comfortable lives than we ever did. Yet, we are constantly griping with a sense of dissatisfaction.

We don’t seem satisfied in our present state of relative abundance (compared to our past).

We are amplifying the negatives and glossing out the positives, out of past conditioning. Recognize this and ease up.

Our life is good and the world is not so bad, after all.


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