The Happiness Hypothesis: Motivated Reasoning

Have you ever had an opinion of somebody you work with only to find out that your judgment was completely wrong once you finally get to know the person? Your opinion may have been a stereotype, to which you saw one action correspond with, and considered it a “pattern.” We must be careful when forming opinions of someone or something to be sure that we are not being biased. Maybe when we feel the pull of “putting a label on somebody” we should use this as a cue to act and search for disconfirming evidence… TRY to prove your original opinion wrong.

People who are told that they have performed poorly on a test of social intelligence think extra hard to find reasons to discount the test; people who are asked to read a study showing that one fo their habits-such as drinking coffee-is unhealthy think extra hard to find flaws in the study, flaws that people who don’t drink coffee don’t notice. Over and over again, studies show that people set out on a cognitive mission to bring back reasons to support their preferred belief or action. And because we are usually successful in this mission, we end up with the illusion of objectivity. We really believe that our position is rationally and objectively justified.” -Jonathan Haidt (pg.65)

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The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom


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