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Behaviors

Behaviors

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Published by Ironstrike

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Published by: Ironstrike on May 10, 2010
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01/06/2011

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\10.GAMBLERS PHALLACYThe Gambler’s fallacy is the tendency to think that future probabilities are altered by past events, whenin reality, they are not. Certain probabilities, such as getting a heads when you flip a (fair) coin, arealways the same. The probability of getting a heads is 50%, it does not matter if you’ve gotten tails thelast 10 flips. Thinking that the probabilities have changed is a common bias, especially when gambling.For example, I am playing roulette. The last four spins have landed on black, it has to be red this timeright? Wrong! The probability of landing on red is still 47.37% (18 red spots divided by 38 total spots).This may sound obvious, but this bias has caused many a gambler to lose money thinking the probabilities have changed.9.REACTIVITYReactivity is the tendency of people to act or appear differently when they know that they are beingobserved. In the 1920s, Hawthorne Works (a manufacturing facility) commissioned a study to see if different levels of light influenced worker productivity. What they found was incredible, changing thelight caused productivity to soar! Unfortunately, when the study was finished, productivity levelsdecreased to their regular levels. This was because the change in productivity was not due to the lightlevels, but to the workers being watched. This demonstrated a form of reactivity; when individualsknow they are being watched, they are motivated to change their behavior, generally to makethemselves look better. Reactivity is a serious problem in research, and has to be controlled in blindexperiments (“Blind” is when individuals involved in a research study are purposely withheldinformation so as not to influence the outcomes).8.PAREIDOLIAPareidolia is when random images or sounds are perceived as significant. Seeing clouds in the shapesof dinosaurs, Jesus on a hot pocket, or hearing messages when a record is played backward arecommon examples of pareidolia. The common element is that the stimulus is neutral, it does not haveintentional meaning; the meaning is in the viewer’s perception.
Interesting Fact:
theRorschach Inkblot testwas developed to use pareidolia to tap into people’smental states. Testees are shown images of ambiguous pictures, and asked to describe what they see.Responses are analyzed to discover the testee’s hidden thoughts.7.SELF FULFILLING PROPECYSelf-fulfilling prophecy is engaging in behaviors that obtain results that confirm existing attitudes. Aself-fulfilling prophecy is a prediction that causes itself to become true. For example, I believe that Iam going to do poorly in school, so I decrease the effort I put into my assignments and studying, and Iend up doing poorly, just as I thought. Another common example is relationships; I think myrelationship with my significant other is going to fail, so I start acting differently, pulling awayemotionally. Because of my actions, I actually cause the relationship to fail. This is a powerful toolused by “psychics” – they implant an idea in your mind, and you eventually make it happen becauseyou think it will.
Interesting Fact:
Economic Recessions are self-fulfilling prophecies. Because a recession is 2 quarters
 
of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decline, you cannot know you are in a recession until you are atleast 6 months into one. Unfortunately, at the first sign of decreasing GDP, the media reports a possiblerecession, people panic and start a chain of events that actually cause a recession.6.THE HALO EFFECTThe Halo effect is the tendency for an individual’s positive or negative trait to “spill over” to other areas of their personality in others’ perceptions of them. This bias happens a lot in employee performance appraisals. For example: my employee, Biff, has been late to work the past three days; Inotice this and conclude that Biff is lazy and does not care about his job. There are many possiblereasons why Biff was late, perhaps his car broke down, his babysitter did not show up, or there has been bad weather. The problem is, because of one negative aspect that may be out of Biff’s control, Iassume that he is a bad worker.
Interesting Fact:
The Physical Attractiveness Stereotype is when people assume that attractiveindividuals possess other socially desirable qualities, such as happiness, success and intelligence. This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when attractive people are given privileged treatment such as better  job opportunities and higher salaries.5.HERD MENTALITYHerd mentality is the tendency to adopt the opinions and follow the behaviors of the majority to feelsafer and to avoid conflict. Also known as “Mob Mentality,” this is, at its most common form, peer  pressure. Herd mentality explains why fads get so popular. Clothes, cars, hobbies, styles, all it takes is agroup of people who think something is cool, and it catches on.
Interesting Fact:
things that are unattractive, or that would never seem cool or popular now have hadhuge followings due to herd mentality. Examples include parachute pants, pet rocks, mullets, cone bras,tie-dye, sea monkeys, and the 1980s (by the way, that is an ’80s guy in the picture above).4.REACTANCEReactance is the urge to do the opposite of what someone wants you to do out of a need to resist a perceived attempt to constrain your freedom of choice. This is common with rebellious teenagers, butany attempt to resist authority due to perceived threats to freedom and/or choice is reactance. Theindividual may not have a need to do the specific behavior, however the fact that they cannot do itmakes them want to.
Interesting Fact:
“reverse psychology” is an attempt to influence people using reactance. Tell someone(particularly children) to do the opposite of what you really want, and they will rebel and actually endup doing what you want.3.ESCALATION OF COMMITMENTEscalation of commitment is the tendency for people to continue to support previously unsuccessfulendeavors. With all the decisions people have to make, it is unavoidable that some will be unsuccessful.Of course, the logical thing to do in these instances is to change that decision or try to reverse it.However, sometimes individuals feel compelled not only to stick with their decision, but also to further invest in that decision because they have sunk costs. For example, say you use half of your life savings

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