Friday, October 25, 2013

Underestimating the Risks

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“Familiarity breeds liking.”


        One of functionalities of our brain is to sort everything into two pile: The importants and the others. We define important subjects as something new and unfamiliar to us. We pay attention to important things while ignoring the unimportant ones. 

Habituation and Riskiness

        Habituation refers to how our brains turns important things into unimportant things. Our brain does so when we experience the same thing over and over again. So, one thing could look risky on the first day we experience it. But, we will feel that it is less important and less risky to when we experience it more, when in fact it is still the same thing and the riskiness is still the same.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Overestimating the Risks

 Reasons that People over Estimate Risk

We overestimate the risk,

  1. When it has catastrophic consequences
  2. When we are unfamiliar or don’t understand the subject
  3. When we think we are not in control
  4. When our children are involved
  5. When the future generation bears the consequences.
  6. When we know the victim personally
  7. When the effect generates fear
  8. When the involved institution is not trustworthy
  9. When it is in the media
  10. When it has happened in the past
  11. When someone benefits from it
  12. When the accompanied benefit is not clear
  13. When the loss is irreversible
  14. When we are exposed to the risk
  15. When it is a man-made. Well, we don’t blame vocalno for erupting but we do try to find people responsible for making a nuclear power plant explode.
  16. When the threat is more recent   
SOURCEThe Science of Fear: How the Culture of Fear Manipulates Your Brain 

Book or Audiobooks?

Personally, I prefer audiobooks. It's fun, and I can listen when I'm doing something else. It also makes other activities (e.g., jogging) a lot more fun. For more detail about audiobooks, please read [this post].

There is one more reason that may encourage you to go for the audiobook version. You can get it now for FREE. Audible offers you a free trial for 14 days. Even if you get the book and cancel the subscription right away (so that you don't have to pay), you can keep the book. And, don't worry if you lost the audiobook file. Just log into You can keep downloading the over and over again.

   About the summary: It takes time to finish up a book. And, when you do, sometimes, you want to review what you learn from the book. If you do not make  notes as you read, you might have to go through the book once again. This can be time-consuming when you are dealing with a book. But you can still flip through the book and locate what you are looking for.

However, when the material is an audiobook, it is extremely hard to locate a specific part of content. Most likely you will have to listen to the entire audiobook once again.

This book summary will help solve the pain of having to go through the book all over again.

I am leaving out the details of the books. Most books have interesting examples and case studies, not included here. Reading the original book would be much more entertaining and enlightening. If you like the summary, you may want to get the original from the source below.

Friday, October 18, 2013

How Our Memory Works

Photo Album

Our memory isn’t like an album full of photos. Our memory is subject to change. You may remember something today, but you won’t remember in a few months later. And, you would insist that you remember it, even if what you remember was wrong.
Our memory is also highly biased. We tend to remember something very well, but not to remember other things very well. Here is why.

Danger Triggers Memory

        When you are in danger (e.g., getting rob, seeing a tiger), your body secrete hormone to get you ready to act. This is a famous “fight or flight” mode. One of the secreted hormone enhances memory. It makes such danger stick with you for a very long time. No wonder a lot of people abused when they were young still have problem when the’ve grown up. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Three Mind Rules: Anchoring, Typical Thing, and Examples

 Anchoring Rule

        People have tendency to stick to the number in their mind, regardless of how irrelevant it is. 

A Test of How Arrogant You Are

Consider the following experiment. Divide test subjects into two groups. Ask the first group ‘Did Ghandhi die when he was 10 years old?’ Everyone is likely to get the answer ‘no’, which is the right answer. After that, you let the subject guess the age when Ghandhi died.
For the second group, ask a different question: ‘Did Ghandhi die when he was 150 years old?’ Well, most people would, again, get the answer right. Then you ask them to guess the age when Ghandhi died. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Heads and Guts


        Evolution affects not only our body but also our mind. For example, everyone is afraid of snake, even for those who live in Antarctic where there is no snake

The Law of Similarity

        We tend to think that if something looks like a certain thing, it will be that things. If it looked like a lion, it will have to be a lion. This has been hard-wired into our brain since the ancient time to help use survive. It is still in our head today. A simple example is that we tend to think that a picture of the one we love is the one we love. Losing picture is like losing that person.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Why Do We Fear?

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“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”--Franklin Theodore Roosevelt

 Reasonable Fear

        Reasonable fear is a good thing. It makes us active and avoid danger. But unreasonable fear can be deleterious. It makes us act foolishly. Fear of another 9/11 made people choose road transportation over flight, and that decision killed a lot of people.        

“The great depression can hurt the United States. But fear could destroy it.”

Friday, October 4, 2013

9/11 and Car Accidents

          After the infamous 9/11 event, a lot of people preferred traveling by cars than by planes. Because of this, fatal car accidents soared. The number of people who died in these car accidents is so much larger than people died because of terrorist hijacking an airplane. Yet, families of those who died still believe that the victim died because of regular accidents, not because of 9/11. But, again, it wasn’t 9/11 that killed these people. It was ‘fear’ that killed these people.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

[Book Review] The Science of Fear: Why We Fear the Things We Shouldn’t and Put Ourselves in Greater Danger by Daniel Gardner

 Rating: 4/5
 Learning Level: 4/5
 Genre: Non-Fiction, Science, Psychology
Book Review:

  We all know what ‘Fear’ is. We know when we feel it. But, do we know why? Most of us don’t know and don’t care to know. We fear what we are not suppose to fear and we do not fear what we suppose to. So, we do thing that put us in most at risk. We choose to drive rather than take a plane because of our fear, when, in fact, a lot more people die from car accidents. We fear AIDS but we keep consuming sweet stuff, when, in fact, more people die because of diabetes. We fear nuclear radiation, but we sun-bathe ourselves not being afraid of high likelihood of skin cancer. Not knowing about our nature and our fear make us do irrational things and put ourselves at risk.