We often repeat the same mistakes
Before explaining why we keep making the same mistakes, we must first clarify that there are some mistakes we never make twice: When we burn ourselves by putting our fingers on a burning stove, it is impossible to do it again.
What happens to the brain when you burn out? Heat captured by receptors located at the level of the hand is converted into an electrical signal that travels up the spinal cord. The latter analyzes the signal and may trigger a reflexive response Reflex bow Immediately remove the hand from the hot surface before the pain reaches the brain. But the spinal cord does not generate this reflex arc, sending information to several areas of the brain, such as areas devoted to sensory information, attentional areas, emotional areas responsible for unpleasantness, and memory areas responsible for determining who an individual is. He has already suffered the same pain.
On the other hand, when it comes to thinking, behaving and making decisions, humans tend to make the same mistakes over and over again. Arriving late for a meeting is one of the best examples of this. Being late for an appointment can happen to anyone and has become a habit for some. They haven’t learned from their recent delay, so they’re learning all the time. This method is for people who constantly postpone their tasks or who constantly judge others based on a separate and unique feeling.
read more: Can we ever “erase” bad memories?
Heuristics, mental shortcuts are used daily
A man’s life is made up of many decisions that have to be made daily. Big or small, these decisions punctuate our days. Some of these decisions require no thought, while others require thought to make the right decision. Many factors influence these results. Researchers categorize these factors into various categories such as life experiences, cognitive biases, heuristics, individual differences, or age.
Cognitive biases are patterns of deviation from logical thinking that allow us to make judgments or make conclusions more quickly than logically reasoned. But if there are repeated errors, it makes us curious.
The Education Mental shortcuts we use every day. It is a method of achieving satisfactory results quickly by using automatic and intuitive mental operations, i.e. by making less mental effort. Humans tend naturally to resort to these simpler and less tedious heuristic methods. By using heuristics when making decisions, humans examine fewer clues, search for fewer alternatives, and store less information in memory.
It is these heuristics that cause us to repeat our mistakes. In fact, through these heuristic mechanisms, humans tend to recognize only things that are repeated and they preserve their memory by generalizing and using patterns.
read more: Why did the human brain shrink 3000 years ago?
The tendency is to confirm what we already believe
These heuristics force us to draw conclusions from incomplete and sparse data and create the version of reality we believe. It slows down the flow of information in our brain and makes it lazy. Sometimes when we want to change it, it takes a lot of effort and it takes us back to heuristic behavior.
Humans tend to stick to certain patterns of behavior and repeat their mistakes because the ego effect sticks to their current beliefs. An experiment a few years ago showed that when people remember their past successes, they are more likely to repeat them. But surprisingly, when they are reminded of their past failures, it is very difficult to change the behavior that led them to those failures. In such cases, they become depressed and adopt reassuring and habitual behaviors that lead to failure.
Can we bypass these heuristic shortcuts? Yes, thanks to cognitive control and two areas of the brain located in the frontal cortex, where error-monitoring neurons are located. The processes involved in cognitive control and self-correction are still poorly understood by researchers.
The solution to not making the same mistakes again: admit to making them! By accepting our faults, we don’t need to hide them from others and we feel better. It allows us to assimilate new information that helps us correct ourselves.
read more: The brain’s uncertainty zone reveals its mysterious role in memory
Pragya Aggarwal, “How the brain prevents us from learning from our mistakes – what to do about it”, ConversationApril 20, 2023, https://theconversation.com/how-the-brain-stops-us-learning-from-our-mistakes-and-what-to-do-about-it-203436