Your Brain Has Tricked You Into Thinking Everything Is Worse

Your Brain Has Tricked You Into Thinking Everything Is Worse

In this blogpost I share an article that discusses how the brain tricks us into believing that things are worse than they actually are.



By Adam Mastroianni
Dr. Mastroianni is an experimental psychologist and the author of the science blog Experimental History.


But I believe there’s a bug — a set of cognitive biases — in people’s brains that causes them to perceive a fall from grace even when it hasn’t happened. I and my colleague Daniel Gilbert at Harvard have found evidence for that bug, …

… found that, overwhelmingly, people believe that humans are less kind, honest, ethical and moral today than they were in the past. People have believed in this moral decline at least since pollsters …

Respondents of all sorts — young and old, liberal and conservative, white and Black — consistently agreed: The golden age of human kindness is long gone.

We also found strong evidence that people are wrong about this decline.


When asked to rate the current state of morality in the United States, for example, people gave almost identical answers between 2002 and 2020, but they also reported a decline in morality every year.

Other researchers’ data have even shown moral improvement. Social scientists have been measuring cooperation rates between strangers in lab-based economic games for decades, and a recent meta-analysis found — contrary to the authors’ expectations — that cooperation has increased 8 percentage points over the last 61 years.


Two well-established psychological phenomena could combine to produce this illusion of moral decline. First, there’s biased exposure: People predominantly encounter and pay attention to negative information about others — mischief and misdeeds make the news and dominate our conversations.


Second, there’s biased memory: The negativity of negative information fades faster than the positivity of positive information. Getting dumped, for instance, hurts in the moment, but as you rationalize, reframe and distance yourself from the memory, the sting fades. The memory of meeting your current spouse, on the other hand, probably still makes you smile.


Read the article CLICK HERE


This article  reminded me of our crazy judgements and harsh criticism of ourselves. Our brain often sees our efforts and accomplishments miniscule. It seems that our judgment is tainted by the negative clouds and assumptions saying that what we are doing is not enough or not good enough.


It is essential that we take the time to appreciate our efforts and reward our achievement. It is also important that we notice when our mind plays tricks on us and robs us from our accomplishments.


Watch out! Grab the little scoundrel and squash it by showering yourself with compliments and a pat on the shoulder. 🙂


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