Reopening the mind: how cognitive closure kills creative thinking

Finding answers is a highly-valued skill in today’s world, where more than ever knowledge is power. We pride ourselves in quickly resolving issues and creating consensus. In job descriptions, companies clearly state that they are looking for problem solvers. But what if this single-mindedness blinds us to more creative answers? What would happen if we … Read More

How to overwrite your cognitive scripts

Although we think we are fully aware and in control of our everyday decisions, we actually often follow a series of cognitive scripts. These cognitive scripts often develop in childhood and are personal to you. However, as they are commonly based on a sequence of events that we expect to occur in given situations, many … Read More

Novelty fallacy: why new isn’t always better

The most recent smartphone, the latest tool, the hottest trend… Humans are naturally attracted to novelty, whether it’s new objects or new ideas. In the modern world, our desire to be on the cutting edge of technology only exacerbates the appeal of adopting the newest innovations. However, there is danger in blindly embracing something new … Read More

The arrival fallacy: why we should decouple our happiness from our goals

“When I achieve this goal, then I will be happy.” If you’ve ever experienced such a when/then thought pattern, you’re not alone. Whether you’re aiming to run a marathon, get a promotion at work or buy your first house, having a goal in mind can increase your motivation. However, we often mistakenly believe that achieving … Read More

Availability bias: the tendency to use information that easily comes to mind

As humans, our ability to make the right decisions is limited by the many constraints of our mind. One such constraint is the availability bias — our tendency to make judgments based on previous experiences that are easily recalled. When some piece of information is easily brought to mind, we incorrectly assume that it’s an … Read More

Present bias: how instant gratification impacts your long-term goals

How many times have you heard the phrases “live for the moment”, “you only live once”, or “seize the day”? This advice may sound great for adding some spontaneity to your life, but seizing short-term opportunities can lead you to settle for a small present reward rather than wait for a larger future reward. This … Read More

The dangers of apophenia: not everything happens for a reason

Humans love patterns. Sometimes that’s helpful, but other times… Not so much. Apophenia is the common tendency to detect patterns that do not exist. Also known as “patternicity”, apophenia occurs when we try to make predictions, or seek answers, based on unrelated events. Apophenia can lead to poor decision-making. For instance, many people choose their … Read More

The danger of emotional reasoning and using our emotions as proof

Cognitive distortions are thought patterns that can affect our perception of reality. One such distortion is emotional reasoning. This is a thought pattern in which our emotional reactions, or our feelings, lead us to believe that something is true even when the empirical evidence tells us otherwise.  Emotional reasoning is very common in the workplace. … Read More