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  • Krish Jhajj

How the Brain tricks us

The Brain – a complex part of the human body, has a composite structure and is still under study by scientists since numerous things about it are yet to be discovered. By definition, the brain is a mass of nerve tissue located in the anterior end of an organism. It’s a delicate organ, consists of many structures. It performs various functions, for example – it controls our thoughts, the movement of limbs, how we talk, see, hear et cetera. It helps us a lot and of course, it is a fatal organ. The brain also tricks us. You must be wondering how it tricks you without you knowing it. Well, as I said, it’s fascinating and mystical. In this article, you will learn about 16 ways in which our brain may trick us. And it tricks us every day in our daily lives– shocking, isn’t it? Read on.

The Dunning-Kruger effect: In this case, people think their ability to do a task is great irrespective of the fact that they have low knowledge about it. In simple words, they overestimate their ability.

The Barnum effect: Here, people tend to estimate a personality description of themselves in such a way that makes them think it implies only to them, but the information in fact is ubiquitously applicable. People see it vaguely by filling in the gaps. They relate to descriptions made for them as they feel they are accurate.

Declinism: People positively see the past while the present or future appeals to them as negative, making us think that things were better off before and have turned worse now.

Halo effect: You estimate other traits of a person based on how much you like them, how attractive they are. For example, you will think a good-looking person is also smart though it won’t always be true.

Anchoring: You make future decisions based on the pre-existing or first information. The pre-existing information sets a platform for you to make judgments followed by it. You feel water is healthier than aerated drinks because aerated drinks tend to cause health problems, then you will decide to stop drinking aerated drinks because they are not healthy and can cause health problems.

Confirmation bias: When we hold a theory or belief, to prove our stand, we will

only dwell on those ideals which prove them right, thereby avoiding a hoard of things that might contradict them. For example, you like the brand Apple for the appliances it makes, so you will only believe the good things about it ignoring facts that might prove your belief of Apple is a good company wrong. Spotlight effect: If you like something, you will think others also like it.

Bystander effect: You believe someone else will step in, in times of an emergency or crisis. Due to social influence, you see others and copy their actions, which is of doing nothing.

Fundamental attribution error: You judge someone by their character but when it comes to you, you judge yourself based on the persisting situation. You tend to develop a bad image of others when they act poorly but when you do the same as them, you let go of yourself saying it was a tough situation for you.

Groupthink: You always let the first or most confident person in your group form a decision.

Negativity bias: You let negative things control your thinking/thoughts. You are more influenced by the negative aspects of a situation.

In-group bias: Your judgements about friends or people you may know are partial when compared to people whom you see as “outsiders”. For example, you may spare a friend for his bad action but you may not forgive a person you don’t know for his bad actions, because you think of him/her as an outsider. To avoid this, put yourself in the “outsider’s” position.

Belief bias: You have a theory and get an idea which appeals to your theory, you may justify anything to support your stand. In this case, we stop to see things that are true about the argument, just because they don’t support it.

Optimism bias: You overestimate the odds of an event turning out well or being in your favour. This prevents you from making good decisions in certain situations.

Backfire effect: When your idea/belief is strongly opposed, you hold on to it to

prove your stand because you feel it as a part of ourselves.

Sunk cost fallacy: Without giving it a thought, you hold on to things that have

caused you a loss, before, which may be in form of time, money or emotional


Our brain is unique in itself. A lot of things are yet to be deciphered about it and I

am sure, like me, you all must be excited to learn more about the brain and the

various ways it might help us or fool us, in various situations of life. Hope you

enjoyed it!

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