Projection bias: how your “emotional temperature” impacts your decisions - Deepstash

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The projection bias

The projection bias

It occurs when we are in a “hot” state of mind and incorrectly assume that our current needs will be the same as our future needs. As a result, we tend to make decisions based on how we feel right now instead of how we might feel in the future. 

Another way to think about it is that we tend to make decisions that make sense in the moment, but they don’t always work out the way we anticipated.

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Why we can’t accurately predict our needs

  • Projection bias can occur because we don’t realize how much exogenous factors — things that happen outside of our control — can influence our decision-making.
  • Overestimating impact. When we are faced with significant life events, like moving or changing careers, we often believe that they will have a long-lasting impact on our lives.
  • The heat of the moment. We make choices for our future selves based on our current emotional state. If we are calm, cool, and collected, we may have an easier time making rational decisions. 

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How to avoid the projection bias

  1. Check your emotional temperature. When you have to make decisions in this state, take a moment to check your temperature before doing so. How are you feeling right this second? Do you think you are in a “hot” state of mind?
  2. Cool off. If you think you’re in a hot state and you know you don’t have to make a choice right away, take some time to cool off. 
  3. Reflect. Take some time to reflect on your energy levels and work habits during the week. At the end of each day, ask yourself: when did I feel the most energetic? Finding the rhythm that works best for you can take the guesswork out of what future you may need and help you spend your energy accordingly.

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