7 Ways Our Brain Deceives Us When Making Decisions

our brain deceives us when making decisions

This is a guest post by Oliver Raw – a former journalist, now working as a business consultant and blogger at Edusson. He’s also a freelance writer interested in society, culture, management and psychology.

All of us are only people. And no matter how hard we try to be rational and flawless when making decisions, we still make mistakes.

The main reason is that our brain uses heuristics – certain methods to optimize the problem solving process, which often interferes with the logical process.

Here are the main ways our brain misleads us when it comes to decision making:

1. Last seen version.

Imagine we need a designer to make a production catalogue. Most often we will give the task to someone we have already worked with or at least heard of from our friends.

Of course, this doesn’t guarantee that the work will be done in the best way, on time and at a good price. But for some reason we don’t consider other options.

We often optimize our selection process this way. Starting with buying food at the grocery store (we simply take goods of a famous brand or what we have tried before) and ending with the selection of a supplier.

Such way of making decisions helps us save time and – in the minor cases – can be completely reasonable.

Solution: If the issue price is high, better expand the list of alternatives.

2. Dive into the problem.

Let’s say that – as a business owner or manager – we enter a new region with our products /services and look for a sales partner.

After the initial negotiations with the most interesting company, we discuss the partnership conditions, payments, etc. But suddenly we face a huge number of difficulties.

Our potential partner is not satisfied with our workflow process, rises questions on minor issues and makes every possible delay.

And we spend time, effort and money trying to solve all these. But by that time, we already could have seen results from working with someone else.

Persistence is an important quality of a leader. But sometimes it should make way for prudence.

Solution: Always bear in mind the final result and when the problem occurs. Think if there are any ways to solve the issue in a simpler way.

3. To be or not to be.

These are the moments when there is only one option to choose from. Or at least that’s what we think.

Sometimes we face an unpleasant choice where the point is to choose one out of all unfavorable alternatives. Examples of that are “Give us 10% discount or we will find other suppliers” or “The conference can be set only at 9 am”.

Such mechanism is good for making quick, but not the best decisions.

Solution: There are always more options. Don’t let others put you in uncomfortable conditions. The key to successful business is a search for alternatives and compromises.

4. Raising rates.

Let’s say we have a big office printer. Once we have payed a pretty penny for it, and now it is broken. Again.

The master suggests we pay another good sum for repair or to buy a new one. Sure, the standard thinking would be “We have invested a lot in it and it is a pity to throw it away…”.

We think that previous investments increase the value of the item and keep investing, even though buying a new one could be way cheaper.

Same could be applied to:

  • our team mates (“we spent so much efforts on their training, we gotta give them a chance”);
  • customers (“the team has spent lots of time to get this order, even though it will not bring much profit”);
  • projects (“yes, we have problems here, but we can not give up here…”)
    and more.

This trap is even similar to the one of gambling.

Solution: Switch from past investments to present profits. The value is not always in money and efforts put, but in what kind of return we can get today.

5. Imaginary urgency.

Sometimes we think that the decision should be made right now or we’ll miss the boat.

This trick is often used by manipulators in different professions, prompting us to take hasty decisions.

When in a hurry, we take them way less efficiently because our brain uses heuristics to help us decide, yet increasing the chance to make the wrong choice.

Solution: Make sure it is a real emergency and figure out all the possible consequences of the wrong choice. If someone is actively trying to rush us, we should think about his motives too.

6. Putting off making decisions.

Some decisions are very unpleasant, so we put them aside as if it is a visit to the dentist. And, unfortunately, the problem is only growing.

This psychological defense is intended to protect us from unpleasant situations in life. However, a leader’s duty is to act on behalf of the company’s interests, not personal desires.

Solution: Be honest with yourself and be aware of the consequences of a delay in solving the problem.

7. I like it!

Sometimes we like something so much that we make the choice without considering other options or calculating the consequences.

Solution: Analyze all options before taking the decision.

A Decision Algorithm to Help You Avoid All These

These reference points will help when there are doubts about the objectivity of the current decision-making process:

Situation: What are the initial facts? How important is the issue?
Goal: What should be a positive result of the decision?
Options: What are the ways to achieve the goal? What are the alternatives? How can we find more options?
Choice: How much will each option cost? What are the chances to achieve the goal with each option? What are the pros and cons of each option?

Heuristic methods might mislead us sometimes. However, it is hardly necessary to get rid of them at all. They are the basis of our intuition and “managerial flair”.

We need to learn the mechanisms of decision making so that we can be protected from manipulations and achieve synergy between intuition and rationalism.

What do you think? What other way do you know in which our brain deceives us?

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5 Smart Ways to Incorporate Technology into Your Home

5 Smart Ways to Incorporate Technology into Your Home

A smart home was something we could only see in sci-fi movies just a few years ago. Today, smart technology is becoming more available in terms of prices and offers. Therefore, it’s not so surprising that many homeowners are choosing to introduce technology into their homes and make their lives more convenient, safe, cost-efficient and fun.

In fact, a recent report predicted that a global smart home platform revenue will increase from $4.2 billion (2017) to $39.5 billion (2026).

There is no doubt that the concept of a smart home will revolutionize our interaction with our interior, and impact various other aspects, such as the potential resale value of our properties. Knowing all this, it seems wise to start thinking about the ways to incorporate new technology into your home, today. Here are our top five.

Be smart – save energy

If there are two trends that have marked the previous year when it comes to home design, those are energy-efficiency and new technologies.

So, why not combine them and make smart technology work for you and help you save money on your electricity and heating bills? Your first step towards doing that is installing smart lighting. This change will enable you to remotely manage all the light bulbs in your home by using an app, so you won’t have to wonder whether you left your lights on ever again. The best way to use this technology is to pair it with LED bulbs and thus maximize your savings.

Another popular upgrade that helps you save money and automate your home is a smart thermostat. This device connects to your home Wi-Fi and allows you to set the desired temperature no matter where you are. Some models can even remember your habits and adjust the temperature accordingly.

An important safety upgrade

The times we are living in may be new and exciting, but they are still dangerous. That’s why you should do everything you can to make sure that your household is protected both from the unwanted guest as well as various hazards.

Smart home security takes care of that by offering state-of-the-art locks, high-resolution cameras, smoke detectors and motion-triggered alarms. Compared to the traditional security systems, smart security systems will not only alert everybody with a loud alarm but can also send an alert to your phone in case of emergency.

Comfort and convenience with smart furniture

Smart furniture is not being discussed enough, and we’re here to change that. It is set to completely change the way we live our lives.

Let’s start with a smart table or side table. These pieces can feature LED lights, Bluetooth speakers and wireless phone chargers.

The innovative smart sofas offer similar perks but with more coziness. Besides LED lights and speakers, they provide you with a convenient place to charge your phone, allowing you to have everything you need at your fingertips.

Other innovative pieces include color-changing wardrobes and TVs that can be “masked” into artwork, when turned off.

Make everything work together – smart hubs

You might find it difficult to control all your smart gadgets individually. A smart hub allows you to create a centralized system where all your devices are connected to the cloud, and you don’t need more than one app to manage all of them.

Additionally, smart hubs enable you to automate your devices. For example, this would mean that as soon as you unlock the door (using a smart lock, of course), the light in your entryway will be turned on and the thermostat will set the optimal temperature.

The only problem with smart hubs is that this new technology is still in its infancy, and there are too many manufacturers who do not collaborate. This makes pairing up devices from different manufacturers into one hub impossible. Until that changes, to avoid any problems, you should buy the products from the same brand.

A helping hand voice

If you are among those people who remember the Halloween special episode of the Simpsons on the mention of a smart home assistant, don’t be afraid. The assistants of the real world are nothing like Ultrahouse 3000 voiced by Pierce Brosnan. In fact, this technology can make your life a lot easier by helping you make the home automation run smoothly.

Just like Cortana and Siri are improving the smartphone user experience, smart home assistants will make your life easier.

They can be set to react to voice commands, which allows you to control various smart home features without having to use any app. Also, if you have a camera above your entrance and a smart lock, your assistant can unlock the door when they recognize your face.

It’s an exciting time to be alive, and we are sure that there are plenty other surprising smart home innovations on the horizon. Until then, try out these five, and see for yourself how they can change your life.

About The Author

Emma is a writer and a home décor enthusiast. She believes that good design can be found at the intersection between beautiful and functional. Her inspiration comes from traveling and exposing herself to new experiences.

Let's incorporate technology into our homes. Here are 5 smart home security and automation hacks to get started: