Clickbait and Mistaken Beliefs: Change Strategies for Humans

Our sense of certainty and our certainty about it can be one of our most hazardous beliefs. By adopting a critical mindset to question what we know, how we know it, and what it means we might actually find we are able to create greater confidence in our knowledge, even if it is less certain.

The great video below from Aeon provides us with a great summary of the science and logic surrounding certainty and why our beliefs can lead us to self-deceptions. It outlines how we make logical fallacies and can deceive ourselves into believing something even when presented with counter factual information.

The video touches on the neuropsychological reasons why we make the assumptions and conclusions we do and even to the nature of belief itself. It draws our attention to how it is that we can fool ourselves and others for sound reasons.

This is why doing human things with other people is enormously complicated and resistant to logic and data.

It’s also a reminder that when we seek to create change that our plans and strategies are better when they account for this kind of thinking that goes beyond logical reason.

Rational Emotions

Emotion is not a rational thing. When I feel sad, hurt, disrespected, or angry my decisions are not as solid as when my emotional load is smaller. We are all this way. A person might work at decision-making techniques that allows them to supersede much of the power of emotions, but most of us are only partly good at this.

This is a major reason why reason alone doesn’t govern our lives. We are emotional creatures as much as cognitive ones and it’s both that makes up what it means to be human.

It’s why we are so easily fooled or lured by things like clickbait as we see in the video over on Veratasium.

Clickbait Change

There’s nothing novel here other than saying: if we don’t account for how humans think, feel, and act and the errors we make to inform these things we will bake these errors into the designs of our programs and organizations.

Marketing is very much about adjusting our understanding of what others see and working to help them to see what it is we want to focus on.

Behaviour change is actually a marketing problem. Good marketing understands that messaging is largely about perception, bringing us from brain to body and emotion to cognition all at the same time.

If we want to make changes attractive and stick, we might need to be both less logical and more emotional and think as much as a marketer as a scientist or philosopher.

Photo by Henrik Dønnestad on Unsplash

Cameron D. Norman

I am a designer, psychologist, educator, evaluator, and strategist focused on innovation in human systems. I'm curious about the world around me and use my role as Principal and President of Cense Ltd. as a means of channeling that curiosity into ideas, questions, and projects that contribute to a better world.

    One thought on “Clickbait and Mistaken Beliefs: Change Strategies for Humans

    • October 22, 2021 at 5:36 am
      Permalink

      Love this piece. As the movie line goes “(It) makes me want to be a better man”.

      Reply

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