A U.S. research team claims that it has the answer to why our brains are worrying about everything. Apparently, there is a flaw in how the human brain can process data which enables our minds to worry more than they should about relatively rare problems.
Researchers compared the way our brain works to a neighborhood watch. If the group is very effective in detecting and reporting crimes, some members of the group may become hypervigilant. Paradoxically, even when the crime rates go down in the neighborhood, some volunteers tend to find suspicious things where there is no reason to be suspicious at all.
This is why problems never go away because our brains keep redefining them. Scientists have described this flaw in how our brains work as “moving the goalposts.” Most people are affected by this quirk which can be really frustrating.
In other words, most people cannot solve problems because their minds keep redefining the solutions and are constantly looking for trouble.
During the study, the research team asked volunteers to look at a series of images and tell which human faces seem more “threatening”. Some faces were indeed very threatening while others were relatively harmless.
The team found that as volunteers were shown less and less threatening faces, their brains redefined the notion of “threatening” to include faces that would otherwise be harmless. In other words, people’s definition of “threatening” varied depending on how many threats they were exposed to.
What’s more, volunteers’ brains tended to exaggerate neutral things like dots, too. If participants were shown a series of blue and purple dots, they tended to redefine purple dots as blue dots as blue dots become rarer.
Even when participants were offered cash praises to remain consistent in their judgment, they remained biased. This means that this mechanism is beyond our conscious control.
Image Source: Pixabay