4 Disturbing Insights that I Grasp from Psychology & Behavioural Economics

This is maybe not a good way to say it, but after learning it for quite a while, there are a couple of disturbing insights that we need to know about our psychology and mental process. Just a little disclaimer, all the things I wrote below is only from my point of view, and I didn’t intend to offend any parties that are related below.


Before explaining anything, I want to tell you a story about how cognitive dissonance originates.

Leon Festinger discovers cognitive dissonance. In the 1950s, there is a group called the seekers who led by Marian Keech. She claimed that she was told by aliens that there will be an apocalypse that will destroy the earth on December 21, 1954. But, anyone who follows and become the seekers will be saved. A lot of people believe in that organization and even sold their houses, leave their jobs, even their family to accommodate them self to become the seekers.

So they gather around and wish to be saved by aliens the day when they believe to be the apocalypse. But as we know, nothing happened that day. Instead of stop believing in the organization, they were actually celebrating, they thought that their prayers impressed god, so god cancels the apocalypse and saved the earth.

Honestly, as a human being that is gifted with rational thinking, being that delusional is the last thing that I wanted to be. But the point is, human are so delusional and full of denial so we need to keep being rational, skeptic, and neutral with anything.

Similar to cognitive dissonance, confirmation bias is wishful thinking that mainly proposed to take down the dissonance that we just discussed. My personal example is when I’m debating about F.R.I.E.N.D.S (American Sitcom)  vs The Big Bang Theory (American Sitcom) with my friend. Because I’m in the big bang theory side, I will surf the internet with a confirmatory search such as “Why the big bang theory is the best series” or “The big bang theory is the number one tv series” rather than debating and surfing the internet with a neutral point of view.

Daniel Kahneman has an amazing and simple explanation about how our delusionality works. He illustrates our thinking in 2 systems. System 1 is effortless, quick, biased, and intuitive way of thinking, system 2 needs attention and uses our analytical or logical thinking. When we are delusional, most likely our thinking comes from system 1. Because we make a decision before assessing it well with our rational thoughts.

If you want to read more articles about our denial and delusionality, you could check some of my posts here:

  1. How Our Mind Defaultly Built For Supporting & Defending Group Racism/Discrimination
  2. How Internet Endorse The Delusionality Of Conspiracy Theorists


To be honest, I’m already terrified when writing this very part. It’s not because it’s scary like a horror movie, but because of the idea that we have no control and voluntary decision about our own body and mind.

There was one controversial experiment about obedience, and how authority could really change us in a radical way. The experiment was made by Stanley Milgram from Yale University.

The volunteer will come to the lab and will be registered as a teacher, and the friend of Milgram that act as another volunteer will be the learner. Then the teacher (real volunteer) was ordered to ask the provided questions to the learner. If the learner’s answer is wrong, then the volunteer has to register some electric shock to the learner. Every time the learner has a wrong answer then the learner must increase the shock until it maxed out.

Because it’s not a real shock, the actor will act like he was shocked and even moan about the pain. At some point, some of the volunteers will rebel and declined to register the shock, but then the authority figure that has authority attributes (Tall, using a lab coat, etc) will say this sentences:

  1. “Please continue.”
  2. “The experiment requires you to continue.”
  3. “It is absolutely essential that you continue.”
  4. “You have no other choice but to continue.”

The experiment will go on until the volunteers couldn’t register another shock or the shocked is already at the maximum level. The result is terrifying, because “65% (two-thirds) of participants (i.e., teachers) continued to the highest level of 450 volts. All the participants continued to 300 volts.”

This result is perfectly showed how manipulatable we are. In this case, the “fake” authority figure could manipulate the participants to register the electric shock that might kill people in real-life. And it’s heartbreaking to see the participants’ face that was full of distress. Take a look at the video below:

To continue, there is one more experiment that I would like to discuss that uses children participants. Primarily, Bobo Doll Experiment emphasize on how observational learning could make children violence and aggressive.

The experiment has 3 different control group. Children that are exposed to violence model (adult beating a blow-up doll), exposed to non-violence model (playing with normal toys), and children that don’t exposed to anything.

Later then, all the control group will go to a room with toys but they are not allowed to play with it. Because the observer will say that she had decided to reserve the toys for the other children. Then after going through that stage, all the control group will go into another room full of non-violent and violent toys (fake hammer, fake knife, etc) and a Bobo doll (blow-up doll). The result shown that “Children who observed the aggressive model made far more imitative aggressive responses than those who were in the non-aggressive or control groups.”

I really recommend you to watch the video and observe the scary raw aggressiveness of the children

If you want to read more articles about our vulnerability and manipulability, you could check some of my posts here:

  1. Top Psychological Mind Control Tricks That Can Be Exploited
  2. How Freemium Games Makes Us Forget The Sense Of Trade-Off For Using Real Money


So that was it, I want to emphasize that the human is undoubtedly very fragile yet complex creature. And what makes humans more advanced than other creatures in the earth is our amazing brain that capable to do anything, that’s in our mind. That’s the very reason why we could go to the moon, build a very fast plane or train, etc. So in the next post, I’m gonna write “4 Amazing Insights That I Learned From Psychology & Behavioural Economics”.


McLeod, S. (1970, January 01). Saul McLeod. Retrieved from https://www.simplypsychology.org/bobo-doll.html

Mcleod, S. (2018, February 05). Cognitive Dissonance. Retrieved from https://www.simplypsychology.org/cognitive-dissonance.html

Mcleod, S. (2017, February 05). The Milgram Experiment. Retrieved from https://www.simplypsychology.org/milgram.html

What Is Confirmation Bias? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/science-choice/201504/what-is-confirmation-bias

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