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Mind Trap—error of Reasoning

We often tend to fall in a mental rut formed out of generations of habits and psychological necessities to make us feel secure. These lead us to pitfalls of wrong choices and decisions.

In our daily life, we are willingly and frequently caught into mind trap which vitiates our judgement It make us take wrong decisions which may vitally affect our well-being . The choices are made in a biased manner which is not in our best interest. So entrenched this mindset on our subliminal level that we argue to defend the position taken by us. Seven such fallacious position can be identified .

We tend to agree with the persons who are agreeable with us. It is quite natural we will like to share with  persons who hold same political views, whose tastes and opinions are similar to ours. But when we are trying to logically arrive at a decision/choice we must learn to avoid such pitfalls of fallacious argument. We should try to logically conclude to a decision notwithstanding it is shared by the groups, sites and individuals whom we dislike and is not in consonance with our established belief- system. This apathy to any decisions/opinion which is contrary to our belief-system, disregarding facts and informations supportive to such decisions ,is called by psychologist B. Skinner “cognitive dissonance”. We feel anger, a sense of disequilibrium,frustration,dread.anxiety and embarrassment until our mind reduces and alters cognitions to create a perception consistent with our belief system and restore the sense of equilibrium but thereby escaping the reality as such. These subliminal forces help us to keep our image of the world intact and make us feel secure.

The second phenomenon we usually encounter is our tendency to affiliate ourselves with some groups. The need to belong,is an intrinsic motivation to affiliate with others and be socially accepted. This need drives us to seek out stable relationship with others and also to participate in social activities.By beloging to a group, we feel secure and part of something bigger than us.

It may seem odd that it relates to a neurotransmitter ‘oxytocin’ which helps us to bind us with other persons in stable relationships but it also creates opposite effect with persons who does not belong to our circle. This phenomenon of group affiliation leads us to a position which may be referred to ‘group think’.It may lead to impulsive decision and failure to consider all sides of an argument. Another phenomenon occurs in such groups , it tends to make us take a extreme position which may be not what situation demands. It create extreme optimism that encourage us to take extreme risk. We are prone to believe in rightness of our cause hence we disregard the ethical and moral consequences. The group also tend to hold back the informations that is problematic or contradictory to the group decisions.The group, too, pressurize the dissenters to fall in line with the group decisions.The innate tendency of human beings give undue importance to past events and draw a positive conclusions from them which suit our desire. One example often cited is toss of coin. If five consecutive tosses show tails, then we will expect sixth one will be head, though probability still remains 50/50. This happens in the cases of players and gamblers. This mind trap is often called ‘positive expectations’.

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