cognitive ease

All posts tagged cognitive ease

For my research, I decided to look at subliminal messages and whether they are possible or not in real life, and I found that subliminal messages do not work. Thus, I decided to look into what else could cause the human mind to start thinking a certain way. While researching I came across the following video by Veritasium on truth and different ways that humans perceive information.

Derik Muller who is the creator of the video argues that information that the human mind is familiar with is more likely to be perceived as true (even if the information is false). He explains this phenomenon through the scope of cognitive ease which he describes as how hard the brain must work to perform a task, and information that has cognitive ease is less likely to be perceived as a threat, so it is more likely to be thought of as true. Muller then talks about ways that people form cognitive ease, and he explains that the easiest way to build cognitive ease is simply repeated exposure to a stimuli. I know that this talk of cognitive ease may not seem relevant to the many people who are looking at dystopias literature; however, I feel that this video actually can help those who are researching the aspect of propaganda in dystopias because I find that one aspect of propaganda is that it is constantly exposed to the masses of a dystopia. Thus, I feel that if your research is on the aspect of propaganda in dystopias, then this video can be critical for research because it can explain that the reason the majority of citizens believe the propaganda is due to the repeated exposure to it. Thus, even though I am using this video to look at the psychology of truth, I find that others may find it helpful to adapt to areas of research in propaganda.

Can subliminal messages cause changes in behavior and belief? In short, no; however, I plan to dive into this mysterious concept of subliminal messages, and to debunk some common misconceptions about them. I will explore the absolute threshold which is a concept in psychology that describes when stimuli are first perceived by an individual, and I plan to have an actual test in my presentation which will illustrate both stimuli below and above the absolute threshold, and will show that two distinct individuals may have different absolute thresholds. I will then look at subliminal messages in relation to absolute threshold as stimuli that are purposely set below the absolute threshold. After looking at these mechanisms of subliminal messaging, I plan to describe experiments preformed that involve subliminal messages that show that they do not work as they are intended. Now having shown that subliminal messages do not work as they are intended to, I will suggest some possible alternatives to subliminal messages that may cause behavioral changes. I plan to first explore the concept of cognitive ease which is a psychological mechanism that describes how hard the brain is working to accomplish a task, and I will give some examples where I display two problems one which takes no effort and will take less than a second to solve, and another problem that is more complex. The point behind this exercise is to prove that some problems use a lot less mental work than others, and then I will explain that when exposed to a stimulus even one that is false because of the repeated exposure, the mind will start to perceive it as true. In my final section, I plan to look at hypnosis which is simply having suggestions given to you, and I will look at a study which shows that participants who are subjected to hypnosis before doing a cognitive test perform better than they did without hypnosis. Thus, hypnosis and cognitive ease can help provide alternative ways that affect behavior.

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