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Perception, Intuition, Biases, and Decision Making

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I appreciate how in the most recent chapter (Chapter 6) of Are We Done Fighting? that I read explored some of how beliefs and perception interact with each other. I wanted to learn more about this, because I think it's kinda neat how the brain takes shortcuts (e.g. assumptions, biases, intuition) to make quick easy decisions.

For starter's, someone's past experiences could influence how they perceive the world. In the article How Perception Creates Your Reality, Tony Fahkry makes a good example of how being raised poor could make one have a low opinion on money:

Tom Fahkrhy wrote:Suppose you are raised in a poor family with little material possessions to account for. Your constant concern for money leads you to adopt a scarcity mentality. Over time, you develop negative beliefs related to money, since your past was replete with evidence of money being in short supply.

This similar conditioning from past experiences can also create many more filters for various other things in life.

Backing up to something simpler, it seems that the brain makes a lot of assumptions (shortcuts) with visual things.

From the video description:
"So what does perception even mean? What's the difference between seeing something and making sense of it? In today's episode of Crash Course Psychology, Hank gives us some insight into the differences between sensing and perceiving."

Instead of visual shortcuts, let's get back to other mental shortcuts that affect perception of reality.

From the video description:
"People like to think that their perceptions of themselves and of other people are reasonably logical and accurate. Yet, it is easy to demonstrate that we are not only irrational—but systematically irrational—in our interpersonal perceptions. We are also somewhat clueless when it comes to judging our own personality traits and evaluating our own performance on a task (any task). In his talk, Sternglanz will explore why most people just know that their interpersonal perceptions are so much more rational and level-headed than everyone else."

One of the ways that the brain can filter information is with a confirmation bias. In this case, the brain makes things easier for oneself by only collecting information that coincides with one's beliefs. This potential error in data collection could lead one to think that the world has more or less of something that they wish it had.

Another possible bias that could influence how one interacts with the world is perception bias, where one bases decisions on how they think their peers are behaving. There's even a whole catalog of biases out there!

How Do we Really Make Decisions? suggests that these biases and shortcuts in thinking arise from our intuitive mind:

Toby MacDonald wrote:Most of the time, our fast, intuitive mind is in control, efficiently taking charge of all the thousands of decisions we make each day. The problem comes when we allow our fast, intuitive system to make decisions that we really should pass over to our slow, logical system. This is where the mistakes creep in.

Our thinking is riddled with systematic mistakes known to psychologists as cognitive biases. And they affect everything we do. They make us spend impulsively, be overly influenced by what other people think. They affect our beliefs, our opinions, and our decisions, and we have no idea it is happening.

Simply put, it seems to be that making logical thought-out decisions requires a lot of time and energy, so shortcuts are made for efficiency and get-er-doneness.
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I experienced this after my first divorce. Unlike some people who get divorced and are very jaded, my first divorce was very amicable. For instance we had divorce-sex just before we drove down to the courthouse and filled out the divorce papers together. And at the finalized divorce, when the judge banged his gavel, I gave her a kiss on the cheek, wished her well, and have never seen her since (January 2005). Even the judge said it was "the most amicable divorce he had seen in a long time.

But because it was so agreeable and nonchalant, and since I knew I had made mistakes as a husband...don't get me wrong, I was always faithful, I just mean I could have been a better husband...that I did not think much about getting married again. My second wife was NOT right for me, and when we divorced a few years later (my second divorce), it was painful, nasty and expensive. Again, probably not a marriage I would have jumped into had my first divorce been nasty.

In reflection, I am not sure if having an easy first divorce, and a nasty second divorce played much in my decision to marry a third time though, as I think I just knew Katie was really right for me. There was only 54 days between when I divorced my second wife, and when I married Katie after all. But it is not what you think...divorce takes time, so I never cheated on my second wife, or anyone in my life for that matter.

I do joke though that my first marriage was for 9 years, and my second was for 6 years, so if the pattern was to repeat, Katie and I should have divorced after the third year, but as it has been 8 years of a truly a great marriage, the pattern has obviously been broken.

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