Can we trust ourselves?

Without trust - to yourself, your feelings, the people around us - we would not be able to live a full life. However, an excess of confidence in their estimates may prevent us from seeing the situation impartially and to take into account the opinions of others.

Can we trust ourselves?

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If people do not trust himself, he may refuse from taking action and making important decisions. But an excess of trust is not in our favor: we risk to overestimate their strength and knowledge and do not notice the warning signs in the behavior of people.

For the emergence of a sense of trust meets a special area of ​​the brain located just above the eyes - ventromedial prefrontal cortex of the brain. Thanks to her, we can evaluate options and make decisions. Neuropsychologists found that the decision actually involves two steps that take place almost simultaneously: our judgment about something, and evaluation of the degree of our confidence in the judgment. For example, we look at the restaurant menu and choose what to order. One group of neurons is activated at a time when we try to imagine the taste and smell of food. Suppose steak image seems appetizing. Almost at the same moment, other neurons evaluate the likelihood that we are right 1.

All of this happens automatically, at an unconscious level, so the two essentially separate solutions are perceived by our minds as one. In practice, this leads to the fact that our decision to trust in their feelings depends on how strong those feelings. In other words, the The stronger the feeling that causes us or any other information, the more we trust your feelings. For example, we are more inclined to believe the emotional rather than rational arguments, and the fact that we are already familiar with or associated with pleasant sensations. Distortion associated with excessive confidence in their judgment, are encountered not only in those who are prone to narcissism and inflated self-esteem. For example, 85% of drivers believe that their driving skills are better than others. Probably, the first thing they consider themselves to be sufficiently experienced and careful drivers. But their confidence in their assessment of their own abilities gives them even more confidence and dulls doubts. The idea in the spirit of "I am very well drive a car, but I'm not sure" difficult given the brain, since it tends to be self-persuasion: "If I decided, then, I'm right."

Another example of the distortion - "halo effect," in which we tend to trust people who seem to us interesting, witty, beautiful, or like us. If our first impression of a person is positive, it will also suppress our doubts - and along with our trust in someone else's words, which are not consistent with the established in our minds the image. Cognitive distortions lead to risky decisions while playing at the stock exchange. The more we believe in the possibility of making a profit, the more trust your instincts. The consequences of such behavior are well known.

Why are we again and again repeat the same mistakes? First of all, because we rarely comes to mind to look beyond the way we think and why take certain decisions. The ability to metamyshleniyu (analysis of their own thinking) - one of the most difficult to master. However, it is possible to develop - for example, by speaking aloud their reasoning or discussing them with others. In 2010, the Danish and British psychologists from the study found that the two participants evaluate the color in the picture or rather than individually. But this result was achieved only under one condition: if they shared with each other their views and allow themselves to doubt their assessments. 1 Nature Neuroscience, published online on August 15, 2015.