Interesting Psychological Effects

Some psychological effects can influence our thoughts and actions. Read on to learn more!
Interesting Psychological Effects

Last update: 27 March, 2019

We as humans can fall prey to certain psychological effects. Some effects can be detrimental, while others not so much. Some are typical of certain societies, while others are common in teenagers. Whatever the case may be, these psychological effects can make your brain spare some of the information you consume every day.

It’s important to compartmentalize everyday information. Even though your brain can make mistakes, most of the time these psychological effects can improve your adaptation to things. Think of cavemen. They had to be fast and efficient, instead of analytical and slow.

In modern times, advertising, companies, and society resort to these psychological traps to increase their sales.

In this article, we’ll tell you about the most common and interesting psychological effects.

Many sales and discounts signs.

Some of the most interesting psychological effects

Barnum effect

How many times have you read your horoscope and thought: “This is happening to me!” However, that’s just your brain’s bias. What you’ve read isn’t happening to you in particular. When this happens, you become a victim of the Barnum effect.

The Barnum effect happens when we’re told or read descriptions that might seem tailor-made for us. However, said descriptions are very vague.

See it for yourself:

“Beware of any future projects, Libra, as you always take on more than you can. Know your limits. Someone might need your help. Try as best as you can, but try to not get involved emotionally. Your health might suffer this week, but not for long. You’ll feel like yourself in no time. You might feel very active Monday and Tuesday, but things will slow down as the week progresses.”

As you can see, anybody could fit this description. A lot of people might be starting new projects. Who doesn’t have a loved one who’s going through a rough patch? Who doesn’t get a cold or back pain every so often? People tend to be more active on Mondays and Tuesdays because they just enjoyed the weekend off.

Anchoring or focalism

This effect is used in many advertising campaigns. Imagine that you go to a sale and there’s a coat you really want. It has two tags: one with a really high price and another with a really low price.

Not one to think twice, you buy the coat at the low price. What happened? The first price was an anchor that you took as a reference. Since the coat was on sale, you just couldn’t miss the chance of buying it.

Fundamental attribution error

Sometimes, we think personalities are to blame for how people conduct themselves. We should, instead, think of the circumstances that may have influenced that person to act the way they did. Consequently, this attribution can affect how people are perceived.

Person walking toward the light.

False consensus effect

It happens when we overestimate how many people agree with us. It’s a way of exaggerating our confidence in our own beliefs, even though they’re wrong. This can have many negative effects, including that it doesn’t allow us to open up to the world, to others’ ideas, and to how others’ think or feel.

This is why we might miss out on important and useful information. For example, think that you’re the owner of a company and you don’t want to work with people who think differently and could give you another outlook on life.

Illusory correlation

This can make us overestimate the association between two variables which, in reality, are completely independent of each other.

Think of pathological gamblers. They might say to themselves that a slot machine is hot because it’s still full of coins. They’re relating time with chance, although slot machines are known to follow a random system.

Self-fulfilling prophecy

This is when we have very strong beliefs about something specific and we act according to those beliefs. Then, reality confirms those beliefs as if they were prophecies.

For example, think of a pathologically unfounded jealous person. This can make them question their partner, spy on them, and exhaust them to the point that they finally end the relationship.

Bias blind spot

This effect is when we don’t recognize our own biases and effects. This is when you think “This happens to other people”, although it’s something that can happen to anybody.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Hogg. M, Vaughan. G,. Psicología Social (5ºedición). Editorial Médica Panamericana (2008)

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.