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We get fooled regularly

We get fooled regularly

People and businesses often use techniques to get us to do what they want. We go for the “buy two, get one free” offer at the drugstore, or buy the advertised special, even when it is not really needed.

While other people are responsible for the scams, the persuasion mostly happens in our minds. 

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Social compliance refers to how we respond to people in authority or to those who have the appearance of competence and expertise.

Social proof refers to how we look for cues around us to know how to behave. This can be easily used against us by manipulating our environment to get us to behave in a certain way. For instance, a large number of "like"s on Facebook and other platforms will attract more "like"s as people take clues from others.

The age-old tactic of misdirection is employed to distract us from the real issue. Companies and governments even implement it: they release bad news on Fridays or before major holidays with the hope that the weekend will distract us from focussing on the issue.  

Combining time pressure and opportunity is a potent sales tactic. Think of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales (time pressure) that lead us to spend more than we typically would on things (the opportunity).

It is easier to manipulate people when they feel under pressure and don't have the time to consider the facts.

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Cherry-picking information

Confirmation bias, means we’re more likely to notice stories or facts that fit what we already believe (or want to believe). So, when you search for information, you should not disregard the information that goes against whatever opinion you might have in advance.

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Secretly, you don’t want to do it; you just think you should want to do it. You value it for the wrong reasons. If you’re only coming up with extrinsic reasons for your activity or goal, you may decide that it’s not worth pursuing.

How to outsmart it: Think of your intrinsic reason — the motivation behind why you’re doing what you say you want to do — like your own personal energy source.

Our brains process information in two ways:

  • Fast: Our fast brain is highly efficient, and makes decisions automatically by focusing on a few details it finds important, based on past experience.
  • Slow: Our slow brain uses control processing to make decisions, and takes into account more information.

Our brains spend most of their time in fast mode. However, we should avoid relying on our fast brain when we are in a new situation or when we are under stress.