How to Read A Person Like A Book
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The human mind is an innovative hybrid that allows us to anticipate the future - to think big thoughts. That's the good news.
However, a growing number of psychologists and behavioral scientists are finding evidence that our brains are hard-wired for mistakes in today social environment, especially when it comes to assessing the personality and predicting behavior of people we encounter.
Why are we so bad at reading the intentions of others? Built on top of the older "emotional" parts of our mammalian circuitry, there is a "rational" cerebral cortex. The two are often at odds, and under the surface, our protective instincts are always lurking. Unfortunately the "emotional" circuitry frequently overwhelms the "rational" cortex. When we encounter people we simply give more weight to elements in their personalities that support our beloved preconceptions than to any evidence to the contrary. Thus we frequently completely miss the target and pay a price of our misjudgments.
The frontal lobes have fallen in love with our preconceptions. This hard-wired programming undercuts us in a host of sadly familiar ways. The most common is the way our preconceptions and prejudices distort our perception of individuals we wish to assess.
This is our all too natural ability to convince ourselves of whatever it is that we want to believe. How? We simply give more weight to events that support our desired prejudice or preconception than to any evidence to the contrary.
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