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How do psychological biases affect us?

Created on 20 Apr 2019

Wraps up in 3 Min

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Updated on 16 Oct 2020

Mental biases refer to having a biased perspective in seeing things around. Such psychological biases influence our thought process profoundly as our thoughts are based on our perception. Moreover, It is our thoughts which shape up our beliefs and our behaviour in our day to day lives.

More often than not, mental biases get ignored so much so that people are not even aware of having such mental filters in mind. Of course, it is indeed the most challenging thing, to find fault with our thinking. We accept the way we think as this is how we have been thinking in our minds for years together. So, in a way we are unaware that our behaviours and reactions in our daily life, are influenced by the psychological biases in our minds.

Just imagine, how more beautiful this world would have been if each one of us thinks freely without any negative perceptions or biases towards the world. Our human mental framework is such that we are vulnerable to get biased due to varied situations and challenges influencing us now and then.

The most famous authors and revolutionizers have already stirred the world with their ideas on how our mind shapes up our lives. The renowned author, Robin Sharma, in his book, ‘The monk who sold his Ferrari’ showed that how a famous multi-billionaire who owned a Ferrari and affluent lifestyle went on to become sick and depressed. Moreover, how by developing happy thoughts, meditation and staying positive turned his world upside down by making him younger, contended, much healthier and much happier. Of course, there have been many exemplary works in this field by authors like Norman Peale, Louise Hay, James Allen, Rhona Byrne, and many others. This proves that if we feed positive thoughts to our mind, we receive positive outcome and if we feed garbage to our mind then obviously we receive the adverse outcome.

How do mental barriers affect us?

Psychological biases stop us from viewing the world as it is

So, imagine we have been carrying mental preferences from the time we started thinking. Also, the most unfortunate part is that we were never taught how to think in our minds. Having psychological biases stops us from viewing the world as it is. So, imagine how much these mental barriers are affecting you in your day to day life. Some examples of influences of these psychological barriers are Jumping to conclusions without analysing the situation properly, concluding abruptly, treating a situation to be all or none thinking, exaggerating, stereotyping, etc. Another very prominent psychological bias is ‘should’ or ‘must’ thinking. As we keep growing up our list of ‘how life should be’ or ‘how life must have been’ keeps growing with more and more things get added on to it.

We lose the flexibility to adapt to changes quickly

Psychological biases take away our freedom to rapidly change with the changing environment. You would see that as youngsters we were extremely flexible in our ways of living and would comfortably adapt to changes be it in our life, studies, environment, place of stay, or nature of work. However, as we grew up our thinking is defined by our mental limits, and we start judging things as good, bad, favourable, or unfavourable depending on our mental perceptions.

Psychological biases trigger reactions in us automatically, and they are difficult to control. These biases define what we say and what we do unaware of the situation. A popular example is of racial discrimination in the US. The whites were considered to be having higher social status and dominance over non-whites.

Thus, as psychological biases shape our day to day decisions in life, likewise, they affect our stock investment behaviour and decisions to a great extent. We are mostly unaware of the choices of our stock pick which are influenced by the psychological biases to a great extent.

To learn more about how psychological biases affect our investing decision visit our course 

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Koushik Mohan

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Koushik Mohan has completed MBA from National institute of securities markets (SEBI), with 1.6years of experience working with Northern Trust and CA firm in the departments like OTC derivatives and Accounting.

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