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The Science of Making Bad Decisions

The “What The Hell” Effect

This means that once we’ve mis-stepped, we use it as justification to go all out. One bad decision can snowball into bigger consequences, making us temporarily lose sight of our ultimate goal.

Be aware of your actions and way of thinking. And if you make a mistake, dust yourself off, learn from your mistakes and move forward.

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The Science of Making Bad Decisions

The Science of Making Bad Decisions

https://www.mentalhelp.net/blogs/the-science-of-making-bad-decisions/

mentalhelp.net

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Key Ideas

Like Vs. Lust

There are 2 kinds of pleasure: “liking” and “wanting.” “Liking” is a state of happiness and satisfaction, such as the gratification we get after a good meal. But “wanting” comes from the pleasure in pursuing something and feeling seduction or excitement.

Dopamine plays a big role in us wanting something, and it gives our brains positive reinforcement so we want it more and more. 

Not Having Something Makes Us Want It More

We naturally want what we can’t have and being denied it makes us want it more. Suddenly depriving yourself of something may empower the cravings, so occasionally indulgences might good.

But from a drug addiction standpoint, a slip-up or two could have catastrophic effects. Instead of focusing on the fact you can’t have something, learn to reframe ways of thinking and choose to fill that space with new people and outside interests.

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The reward system

The reward system in our brain exists to ensure we seek out what we need. If eating nutritious food or being smiled at pleases us, we try to secure more of these stimuli. However, seeking pleasure ...

Desire and pleasure

In 1986, a discovery was made that dopamine did not produce pleasure, but in fact, desire. While dopamine makes us want, pleasure comes from opioids and endocannabinoids ( a kind of marijuana produced in the brain), which paints pleasure on good experiences.

Potential clinical application

We cannot explain away our minds by brain mechanisms. Brain mechanisms are part of our minds.

Understanding that desire and dread, for instance, share the same brain operations, could help ease schizophrenia symptoms by restricting a particular dopamine neuron that produces fear.

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Our emotions are short-term biased

Our emotions are obsessed with the present moment because it’s difficult to look past our immediate fears and anxieties. And this prevents good decision-making.

The sweet spot in de...

“Risky” behavior you should consider
  • Propose “moonshot” ideas, knowing that 90% of them will get shot down, but that if one of them gets accepted, it will be a huge boost to your career.
  • Be excessively bold in your dating life, stating exactly who and what you want.
  • Buy difficult books expecting that most of them won’t be useful to you, but also that, occasionally, one will completely change your life.
  • Say yes to every invitation knowing that most of the events/people will be boring, but that occasionally you’ll meet someone really interesting.
Optimizing life for fewer regrets

Most of us are afraid of messing thing up. But we rarely ask, “Would I regret that failure?” If the answer is “no,” then that is absolutely a risk you should pursue.

Sometimes, the right decision becomes crystal clear when put into these terms.

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Anchoring Bias

A common occurrence of heuristics in which we use an initial starting point as an anchor that is then adjusted to yield a final estimate or value.

Example: estimating the value of an o...

Being Too Optimistic

People who are told that the risk of something bad happening is lower than they expected, tend to adjust their predictions to match the new information. But they ignore the new information when the risk is higher.

Part of this overly optimistic outlook stems from our natural tendency to believe that bad things happen to other people, but not to us. 

You Often Make Poor Comparisons

Sometimes we make poor comparisons or the compared items are not representative or equal.

We often decide based on rapid comparisons without really thinking about our options. In order to avoid bad decisions, relying on logic and thoughtful examination of the options can sometimes be more important than relying on your immediate "gut reaction."

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