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 …

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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 …

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Fear setting: an exercise to define and conquer your fears

Fear is unavoidable, especially when attempting to accomplish an important goal or embarking on a new project that requires you to take risks. However, fear doesn’t need to become a source of unmanageable stress and anxiety. A simple method called “fear setting” will help you to define your fears so that you can embrace them …

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Cognitive bottlenecks: the inherent limits of the thinking mind

The “thinking mind” is the part of the mind that seeks to make sense of the world; it analyses situations, imagines scenarios, evaluates solutions, and tells stories. It’s an inherent aspect of what makes us human. However, it’s limited by multiple cognitive bottlenecks. Why does it matter? Because these cognitive bottlenecks limit how much information …

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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 …

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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 …

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How developing mental immunity can protect us from bad ideas

Every day, a new video goes “viral”, and an “infectious” idea starts spreading. Mental immunity is a psychological theory that is also known as cognitive immunology. With origins dating back 70 years, this field of research is based on the premise that not only is there an immune system for the body, but an immune …

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