Warning: Things Your Brain Does That You Do Not Want...

The moment we see something we instantly judge whether it is positive or negative. We do this all the time, automatically and preconsciously, to everything around us. All input is directly classified as either good or bad. Whether we appreciate specific input as really good or good (or really bad or just bad) does not really matter for this classification. This has enormous implications. If you want it or not, everybody you encounter is immediately classified as either good or bad.  The impact on your subsequent judgments is huge, and this influences how you behave towards a person or object. Most people want to be unprejudiced about differences in race, age, or employment.  The problem with automatic judgments is that they are not based on what we want to think, but on what we have experienced over and over again. All the negative news in newspapers, all the jokes and remarks made by people around you: they all weigh in on your experience. This means that we cannot escape having stereotypes about most people. Sometimes I am aware of my own negative judgment. One way to experience this is by doing an Implicit Association Test. It is horrible to feel my own prejudice in the slowness of my response. Go see if you have prejudice on gender and race. You can find an Implicit Association Test here. Why is it so hard to change your automatic judgments? This is because the amount of times you – or others around you – judge something outweighs by far the value that we give such a judgment. So even when you consider your judgment ‘that women are inferior’ as negative, this is not outweighed by the number of times this judgment is...

Tales of a Thousand and One Nights...

I know a person who always intends to do lots of things and somehow doesn’t get to it. That person will be me. But I guess (and am pretty sure) that this is fairly recognizable. Willing to do something is not the problem, I really and genuinely intend to do what I plan. It just slips my mind. The problem is I just don’t remember I had an intention. In my former blog I talked about the difference between automatically and consciously started behavior. There are so many stimuli through the day and so many things to remember. It is almost special we remember to do a lot of things that are on our to-do-list. Automatic behavior can help us greatly for it makes the remembering less effortful. Unfortunately to get your desired behavior into a habit isn’t done overnights. Describe your future behavior Implementation intentions are a great way to easily remember planned behavior. They are also a great starting point for future habits. Implementation intentions are intentions that are as specific as possible. To make the remembering as easy as possible, you will have to make the circumstances of your planned behavior as clear and described as you can. This creates much higher chances of actually performing the behavior you planned (Gollwitzer, Gollwitzer and Sheeran). Try to plan where, how and when you will carry out your intended behavior (Gollwitzer, Bayer and McCulloch). Try this formula: “If situation X (where, how and when) occurs, I will demonstrate behavior Y.” All the described characteristics of the surrounding of our planned behavior serve as a reminder for the actual behavior. Optimizing: really tomorrow Making your own implementation intentions is your best option. This way chances are biggest you will...