We’re monkeys, and that’s why we get fooled
Posted on 20th November 2011, by Tero.

We’re monkeys, and that’s why we get fooled


Credit: danielpink

Human being is fundamentally a monkey. We are monkeys with bigger brains, opposable thumbs, and self-awareness, but monkey isl always a monkey. And monkey can be pretty gullible.

 

First little context. One of our strengths as human-monkeys is our gigantic brains. During the past two million years our monkey brain has grown to be triple to size it used to be. Bigger size has also brought new structures to our brains. One of the key new structures was the prefrontal lobe and a key part in it called the prefrontal cortex. The latter brain region has been linked with moderating our social behavior, planning very complex cognitive models and our ability to execute them.

”…it is an experience simulator.”

– Dan Gilbert

With the help of the prefrontal cortex we can simulate things beforehand helping us to avoid possible risks and to maximize our opportunities. No other monkey, or even any other animal, could do this like we do it. We have become so smart that we are currently without a true natural enemy. We can simulate our options before they happen to the extent that we are looking most of our time worrying thing that have never ever happened. On the flip side we can also create positive assumptions in our head without a clear link to the real life. It’s called synthetic happiness and it can be as good as natural happiness.

Credit: Adobe of Chaos

This placebo effect isn’t a lie. If you believe something is going to help you get better/stronger/faster, it actually might just do that. It works not only with life philosophy and matters of taste, but also with almost anything related to our well-being (drugs, food, and health). And now we enter an area where I think people get fooled very often. You can believe one particular tribe of nutritional belief is correct and that all the other ones are wrong. When you are really into raw veganism or slow carb diets, you think everybody else is idiots not to eat like you eat.

Due to my business background, I have seen countless times how marketers leverage this to the hilt. They use this ask for premium pricing and sell more in general. Low-impact superfoods are a perfect example of this. The marketers keep on pushing their “truth” until enough people believe it. Then someone usually starts to call it as a fact, or even worse as science. The problem with this is, that even if it works for you, it’s not necessary an universal truth.

We as human-monkeys we have a tendency to blur the line lines between stories and facts. Our prefrontal cortex simulates all kind of stuff to mitigate this gap and make them come together. We build our own truth and our own cause. We make it real. Everybody does it, but not everybody is conscious about it.

Credit: altemark

So the next time you get carried away by your own truth about what’s for example healthy and what’s unhealthy, please consider one more time the other persons viewpoint. S/he might be right, and you might be wrong. And don’t be too gullible with marketing messages. Don’t believe all the antioxidant and organic bullshit people push to you. Think twice, of course including all of my opinions.

Tero

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