The origins of predictable mistakes

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The Origins of Predictable Mistakes
Marie-Élisabeth Deschamps
Dawson College

Since the human race exists, the world has gone through various phases. In each one, new discoveries led to life adjustments. The origination of fire, for example, gave birth to multiple purposes, some of which were to heat habitations, cook or add light to the darkness. Therefore, it is important tounderstand that new discoveries incited changes and established new necessities. However, those changes occurred over a long period of time, and that constrains human from the modern world to still be influenced by our ancient ancestors’ mentality. In fact, no matter if we want it or not, the way our brains work is partly by listening to a latent caveman’s voice. But facing the fact that societyevolved since then, it is probable that what the caveman’s voice says does not suit the modern mentality. That being said, I have to agree that the way the human brain evolved is an inevitable factor that leads today’s humans to make poor decisions and choices. In order to explain more deeply my opinion, I will study more closely three different factors, which lead us to make predictable mistakes:I will go through the idea that our minds are strongly influenced by memory, that the human brain tends to think in relative terms and finally, that our ancestral mentality pushes us to give more importance to the present than the future. As you will see, all of these aspects of the human mind are the consequences of the strong influence of our past.
Decisions derive from mental debates.Often, a whole range of options appears to us, and our duty is to select which one is likely to suit our needs. However, the tricky part is that mental debates have a lot of chances to be influenced by things such as our memory. In fact, memory is partly what gives a meaning to our existence, and therefore, it has a lot of power on us. Perhaps, the world of advertising constantly refers to memory inorder to grab people’s attention and win their choice. What I find most interesting though is how memory manages to be so powerful, and the reason to that is that it is very closely related to our emotions. And who disagrees to the idea that emotions are hard to control? Emotions, as Freud would say in his support to his surrealist theory, are the major part of the human’s Id, which is thedivision of the human psyche that reflects the animal drive in every individual. Emotions are therefore part of our unconscious self, and are likely to manifest our most ancestral thoughts. That being understood, I think it is not too surprising to face the fact that emotions, or should I say, memory, can interfere with logic or rationality. Gary Marcus points out this rivalry by claiming that “what isklugey is not so much the fact that people sometimes rely on emotions but rather the way those emotions

interact with the deliberative system.” (p. 87) This system to which Marcus referred is also called the reflective system, and as Thaler and Sunstein wrote in Nudge, “The Reflective System is more deliberate and self-conscious.” (p. 20), in comparison to the Automatic system (which wewould refer to the emotions), that is “rapid and is or feels instinctive, and it does not involve what we usually associate with the word thinking.” (p. 19) However, the idea I want to light up with these notions is that: emotions are the heart of our Automatic system and therefore play a big role in our lives. Memory is guided by emotions and it is why is can interfere with rationality. Our sense oflogic is therefore susceptible to be influenced by elements that attract our emotions, which tends to lead to the apparition of cognitive biases we have, a good example of it being our susceptibility to framing. An example of framing communicated in Kluge is how people are more tend to choose a medical program that communicates the survival rate instead of the death rate, even if both way of...