Bad Judgments

Why do we make judgments? What goes through our brains when we decide to make a judgment? What is the significance of judgments? We make judgments on things or people due to how they act and who they are around and the way that they look. A judgment is the ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions. In this essay, I’m going to explain about Daniel Kahneman and who he is and why he believes we make bad judgments alongside a bad decision and a bad judgment I have made in the past.

To begin, I’m going to explain one bad decision I made in 2018. It was mid-October of 2018. I was staring at the screen wondering if I should get this ticket to Lovelytheband, which is an alternative band including 3 members. They make some pop music as well as pop-rock music. While I stared at my phone screen, I thought about my consequences if I were to get this ticket. I was nervous and I had a sense that either it would lead somewhere bad or somewhere good. I thought to myself, “If I made this decision, it could get me grounded or lead me to the concert.” Minutes later, from an impulse decision, I decided to get my ticket. I got really excited thinking I would be able to see one of my favorite bands in concert. Being 18 years old, I thought to myself, “What could go wrong? I have a ticket. My parents have to say yes now.” I was wrong. I didn’t tell my parents that I got the ticket and I kept it a secret until the week before the concert. I was really scared to tell my parents because I didn’t know how they would react to me getting the ticket without their permission. With overprotective parents, when I told them about the concert, they did not want me going into Boston alone at 18 years old. At first, they said I was able to go as long as I got someone I was close with to come with me. I asked every single one of my friends, offering to pay for the ticket because I was so desperate to go. I asked everyone. “I know you don’t know this band but I really need someone to go with to the concert. I’m desperate.” None of my friends knew the band but I didn’t care, I really needed someone to go with. The day before the concert came and I still didn’t find anyone. I struggled to convince my parents to let me go alone once again. They still said no, again. The day of the concert arrived and I became very sad about not being able to go. “Please let me go to the concert. I promise to keep myself safe and make sure to have my phone charged.” All my begging and begging got me nowhere. In the end, I ended up having to sell the ticket and I couldn’t go to the concert. But, I am glad that the person who bought my ticket had a great time and enjoyed the concert. In conclusion, I wasn’t able to go to the concert, but it’s a good example of a bad decision made. (Paint a Picture)

There is an article that explains why we make bad judgments. This article is by Daniel Kahneman. He talks about the ways people make bad judgments and why they make them. Why do people make bad judgments? Do they think they’re confident enough to know if they’re making a good judgment? What goes through someone’s head when they are making a judgment on someone? In the article, Kahneman explains the different types of cognitive fallacies. A cognitive fallacy is something wrong in your thinking and a mistaken belief in something that is wrong. Kahneman writes about many different fallacies, but, I’m only going to talk about a few. One example of a cognitive fallacy is the WYSIATI, which stands for, “What You See Is All There Is”. This cognitive fallacy is creating judgments on people you know almost nothing about, which is why it is named what you see is all there is. People making judgments only judge what they see in front of them, even if there is more to that person. There are people that do this every day without even realizing it. They take a look at a person and how they look and make a judgment about them behind their back thinking that they’re mean or annoying without even knowing what is behind the curtains. The people who are being judged could be the nicest person you’d ever meet or the rudest person you’d ever meet. You’ll never know much about a person until you get to know them and not judge them at first look. In the article “Don’t Blink! The Hazards of Confidence,” by Kahneman, he explains that “We had made a story from the little we knew but had no way to allow for what we did not know about the individual’s future, which was almost everything that would actually matter.” (Shine a Spotlight) Kahneman explains how during his time watching the soldiers, he made predictions about them without knowing much about them. People make predictions of others without thinking much about them and it can lead to bad judgments.

Another cognitive fallacy that Kahneman describes is the illusion of validity. The illusion of validity is the illusion that something is sound. I’ve made this cognitive fallacy when I started high school. My high school was a technical school so I went to school with people from different towns. We had shops where we would choose one to be in for the next 3 and a half years. I decided to choose Cosmetology. When I started in that shop, I remember looking at everyone thinking if they were good, bad, or decent. I didn’t know much about the people I was going to be working with for the next 3 and a half years, so I assumed people were going to be bad just by looking at how they acted. I judged them before I got to see what they were able to do and how well they were able to do it. It was a mistake I made because, in the end, we all learned so many new things, and in the beginning, we all had no idea what we were doing. Though some of the people were not so nice and not all of us really got along, everyone knew what they were doing at the end of senior year, and that’s really all that matters. You can’t always make a judgment on people you basically know nothing about without seeing what they can actually do. This confirms what Kahneman says about the illusion of validity. (Connecting the Dots)

Confidence is a feeling, meaning that you feel confident. Kahneman felt confident in his judgments, even if they were not correct. (Say Why it Matters) In Kahneman’s article, “Don’t Blink! The Hazards of Confidence,” he talks about how he committed the cognitive fallacy illusion of validity. “We knew as a general fact that our predictions were a little better than random guesses, but we continued to feel and act as if each particular prediction was valid. He explained that though their predictions were incorrect, it still didn’t shake their confidence. Kahneman explains how we make bad judgments and why we make them. We think that we know a lot about a person that we’re judging when there is more to a person than we know. We don’t know everything about someone we just met, you have to get to know a person to make a good or bad judgment of them.

I always wonder why we decide to make bad judgments, even if we are not realizing it. I made a bad judgment thinking I’ll be okay to go to a concert by myself in Boston. If you have strict parents, how could thinking about going to a concert alone be good judgment? I had a cognitive fallacy, which is what Kahneman explains. The cognitive fallacy I had was the exaggerated expectation of consistency, which is the tendency to expect or predict more extreme outcomes than those outcomes that actually happen. (connecting the dots) I thought that if I acted like an adult and proved I could be trusted to be alone, I would be able to go to the concert. I made sure to act how I was supposed to be acting and I made sure I was never arguing with them so they would give me a chance to prove myself to them that I can be responsible. Still, I was wrong. No matter how hard I tried to prove myself to my parents for them to let me go to the concert, I still had no luck. I made this judgment thinking someone could change their mind when in reality it didn’t change a thing. It actually made it a lot harder considering I was pestering my parents to let me go. No matter how many times I asked, the answer was still always no. I felt confident that I could change their minds if I started acting more like an adult. That was one bad judgment that I made and hopefully, I’ll never make it again.

Bad judgments are made by people who are overconfident in themselves. Which is what Kahneman explains in his article. He explained about the difference between judgments and confidence and why judgments matter. In conclusion, people create plenty of cognitive fallacies throughout their lives as they grow. People decide to make their decisions on their own, and sometimes they are not helpful nor can they be good. Sometimes your decisions can make an impact on someone in a good or a bad way. But, in the end, never judge a book by its cover and always get to know a person before you decide to judge them for how they act and what they look like.

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