cognitive dissonance

The psychology of goal setting

Nassim Nicholas Taleb describes his book, “The Black Swan“, as a book about confirmation bias. The black swan is very rare, and if you had never seen nor heard of a black swan you might be inclined to say that they do not exist. In an effort to make sense of the world, we create schema, or mental images of how things are (and should be). Furthermore, we tend to search for information that confirms our schema. Let’s say that my schemata for dogs is that dogs are vicious creatures liable to attack at any time, then I am probably going to attend information that confirms my prior belief. For instance, when reading the newspaper, I would attend to an article about a dog attack a small child, but ignore one about a dog saving a child from drowning. You see, attending to any information that runs counter to my dog schemata, then I would create what psychologists call “cognitive dissonance”, and dissonance creates a feeling of unease.Read More »The psychology of goal setting