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Mon Mar 11, 2019, 11:51 PM

Your Brain Is Constantly Searching for Problems to Fix

Your Brain Is Constantly Searching for Problems to Fix

When something becomes rare, we tend to see it in places more than ever.

By David Levari

Why do many problems in life seem to stubbornly stick around, no matter how hard people work to fix them? It turns out that a quirk in the way human brains process information means that when something becomes rare, we sometimes see it in more places than ever.

Think of a “neighborhood watch” made up of volunteers who call the police when they see anything suspicious. Imagine a new volunteer who joins the watch to help lower crime in the area. When they first start volunteering, they raise the alarm when they see signs of serious crimes, like assault or burglary.

Let’s assume these efforts help and, over time, assaults and burglaries become rarer in the neighborhood. What would the volunteer do next? One possibility is that they would relax and stop calling the police. After all, the serious crimes they used to worry about are a thing of the past.

But you may share the intuition my research group had—that many volunteers in this situation wouldn’t relax just because crime went down. Instead, they’d start calling things “suspicious” that they would never have cared about back when crime was high, like jaywalking or loitering at night.

More at the link.

https://tonic.vice.com/en_us/article/qvmdkw/your-brain-is-constantly-searching-for-problems-to-fix?utm_source=vicefbus

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