[Short] Why you judge people

Do you ever wonder why you judge people?

Have you noticed how quickly you come to conclusions about people that you see walking down the street, or people you’ve only had a brief interaction with?

You see a certain hairstyle and associate it with a political belief. You see someone frown and associate it with a personality trait. You overhear half a sentence and finish the rest in your head.

Why do we do it?

Well, it’s pretty basic: the brain likes to simplify things, it’s always looking for shortcuts. It’s always looking for the least expenditure of energy. That’s the brain’s primary focus: to use the least amount of energy to survive.

And one of the ways it does that is to to come to quick conclusions about other people. 10,000+ years ago, if we couldn’t quickly identify the threat another person posed to us, we’d likely be killed or wounded. We didn’t have the luxury of safe space to assess nuance and details.

And you’ll notice that you’re avoiding these details. You’ll see that when you actually get to know someone, it’s so much more complex and nuanced than what you might have originally thought, and that you have more in common with them than you suspected. And that their differences are things that you don’t really understand, and so on.

So the reason you judge people is just to keep things simple. It doesn’t mean that you’re accurate.

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One Response

  1. I strongly recommend learning more about cognitive biases, especially Confirmation Bias, Halo Effect, and Broad Brush Fallacy

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