Why our Brain prefers Lies instead of Truth

Why our Brain prefers Lies instead of Truth

Much of what you believe to be true is false.

Our life is heavily dependent on the knowledge we possess. We mold our routines according to that and all our views are formed in light of the things we consider right. The brain is responsible for making all these calculations as it performs the duty of a judge to decide what is right or wrong. Once a judgment has been made, that issue is solved as far as you are concerned. Your stance is ready and it becomes really difficult to persuade you against it. The reason for this is that the central processing unit of your body has fed that data to you. According to a research, the way one’s mind interacts with reality results in telling yourself a big lie.

There are different categories of our beliefs with respect to their authenticity. First and foremost are the true truths. We believe them to be true and they are actually that. Examples include obesity is injurious to health and physical inactivity leads to obesity. Contrary to that, there are facts that we consider rumors. The most common and biggest example in this regard is the existence of Santa Claus. The problem occurs when we start accepting false truths. This class includes all the cases where we are misguided either due to ignorance or lack of information. A common everyday example that comes under this is that 8 glasses of water on a daily basis has a great impact on our health.

Defense Secretary of Bush administration, Donald Rumsfeld, was asked do they have enough evidence to prove that Iraq was providing weapons to the terrorist groups. His response signifies the fact that human brain can respond differently to changing scenarios and all that is linked to the pre-defined concepts we have. He said,

There are known knowns. There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we do not know we don’t know.

Once you know that it happens regularly, the next question you will ask is, WHY? The answer to this is pretty simple but it takes some understanding to get to the base of it. Any piece of information that can be processed easily by human brain gets positive feedback. The term ‘Processing Fluency’ is associated with it and researchers dealing with Cognitive Science explains that it is the root cause of the faulty beliefs all of us have. Another factor that holds the key here is the culture we live in.

It is a well-known teaching preached in all parts of the world to speak what is true. Having said that, it is barely followed as the lie that keeps things in order is preferred over the truths that could have seemed a bit bitter for that moment. As our brains are accustomed to going on with all the lies, false information can creep in without much of a notice.

Fluency is directly proportional to the liking an idea might get. Similarly, lack of risk also determines the popularity of a concept. Repeating is another thing that is used to facilitate fluency. If an idea is being presented to you, again and again, you will develop a liking for it sooner or later. Other than that, the presentation of information is extremely vital. If the mode used for transferring information is easy to process, it will be accepted by the end user without much of a research. In light of all these examples, it can be said that fluency has the ability to replace truth.

What can we do to make sure that our brain is not following this shortcut for judging the credibility of a person or an idea? We will need to adapt to the process of experimentation. You should never consider anything true before making an effort to find some details about it. Think hard about all aspects of a theory and give it your best to know as much about it as you can. In this way, your knowledge database will increase many times as you will find new things to explore while you are out of your comfort zone.

Computer Scientist by qualification who loves to read, write, eat, and travel

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