Motivated perception - Deepstash

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How desire can warp our view of the world

Motivated perception

It is the idea that we see what we want to see.

It’s similar to another concept — motivated reasoning, where we come to conclusions we’re predisposed to believe in.

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The implications of the disconnect

Thinking of your future self as if it is another person has serious implications: We might choose to procrastinate and let the "other" person deal with the future consequences or problems on today'...

Strengthen your connection to yourself
  • Psychologist Anne Wilson has manipulated people's perception of time. By using a longer timeline, such as a due date that is far off, people feel more connected to their future selves.
  • Hal Hershfield, an assistant professor, used a virtual reality room to show subjects a digitally older version of themselves. The result is that participants were more likely to make responsible choices for their future selves.
Our perception of ourselves

Derek Parkfit describes personal identity as a chain of successive selves, all linked, but each different from the previous or subsequent self. Our approach to our future self is like our attitude to other people: we see our future selves as strangers.

This interferes with our ability to make good choices. Think of when you have a good New Year's resolution that you break soon after.

Brainshift: how our perceptions alter

Under particular circumstances (involving high anxiety or a major reward) our brains cause us to perceive the world around us in ways that contradict and distort objective reality. It's when we'...

Why we stick to bad decisions

Psychologists call this “the anchoring bias.”

After we’ve made a decision, even an illogical one, we tend to cling to it. That is, we filter out dissenting information while seeking data that confirms our original viewpoints.

How to avoid brainshift
  • Be aware that we are all vulnerable to the consequences of brainshift, regardless of our ethics, social status, or IQ.
  • Know the situations that stoke your fears and desires: Those involving money, sex, and fame/recognition are good places to start.
  • Answer to these questions: What’s the worst thing that could happen? How would I feel if that outcome occurred?
Confirmation bias

Is the human tendency to seek, interpret and remember information that confirms pre-existing beliefs. 

It affects every choice you make and it all happens in the background withou...

Confirmation bias affects you in 3 ways:
  1. How you seek information - how you look at the world around you
  2. How you interpret the information in front of you - the information you process tends to favour your beliefs
  3. How you remember things - you interpret and possibly even change memories and facts in your head based on your beliefs
Being wrong and self-image

You seek evidence that confirms your beliefs because being wrong feels unpleasant.

Being wrong means you’re not as smart as you thought. So you end up seeking information that confirms what you already know.