How does your mind trick you?

How does your mind trick you?

From an evolutionary point of view, having opinions, beliefs, typical patterns of action or assessments has its justification. Mechanical behavior has both negative consequences and also positive ones:

They shorten the time for making decisions, which can be an energy-consuming activity. It would be hard for us to function if we had to wonder every morning whether we should stop at a red light, whether we could touch a hot pot, or whether walking along a dark street at night, it is worth making new friends with a person carrying a knife.

We save our mental resources for something bigger, e.g., creative work or problem-solving.

In most cases, it is an effective strategy of action.

1. First Impression

If we start our performance badly, it can cascade into other elements and the whole perception of us. An opinion about us can last for a long time.

2. Halo Effect

The audience might assess a speaker as a professional by appearance and signs that they are doing well professionally (designer and expensive clothing). The audience can extend positive opinions on this person’s other features based on one aspect.

3. The Horn Effect

The Horn effect works in the opposite way – negative traits are extended to the whole character of a person. A lousy presentation can also be linked to, e.g., carelessness, unprofessionalism, or helplessness.

4. Aesthetic Stereotype Transfer

Attractive people are often assessed better. Not everyone is born with the appearance of a model, but even if we are not a walking beauty, taking care of our appearance, as well as choosing the right colors and cuts for our figure, can do a lot.

5. Dogmatism

The convictions of listeners and their rigid rules can mean we can be assessed worse in advance regardless of our competencies. Everyone’s dogmas are deeply rooted and are not so easy to change. As speakers, we can do little with them.

6. Labelling Error

When we are late for our presentation, we may be seen as irresponsible in general. Labels can stick to us for a long time.

Conclusion

Operation on autopilot, unfortunately, also has its dark side because it increases the chance of making a mistake. Moreover, it can cause non-reflective action and respond to only one stimulus or feature. On a global scale, this carries a lot of socially undesirable behavior. Stereotypes can destroy relationships, build walls, and prevent you from meeting someone with empathy, friendship, and curiosity. These aspects are also relevant in the context of public speaking. A conscious performer knowing these principles can build effective strategies for self-presentation and building a personal brand, as well as realize that not everything depends only on their performance, and therefore reduce some stage fright.

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