Availability bias, newly discovered brain functions
Dr. Alex Loyd: Thank you, JoHanna. Welcome everyone to Whole Life Healing. I hope that we honor your presence here by giving you a little something that challenges you this week, a little something to chew on and think about and a little something to practically apply to make your week a little better, and maybe every once in a while, your life a little better long term. That’s what we hope and pray.
Today is a little bit different. Typically we are more spiritually and mentally focused. Today we’re going to be more scientifically focused. We probably do one of ever six months or so. This is one of those. Hang with me. I’m going to take this new scientific research and apply it to your life and how to practically use this to make your life better, the spiritual, the mental and health issue and all of the above. We will be tying the ends together at the end.
Wonderful new research that has been named The Availability Bias, and you can search and find this easily. One of the leaders in this is a psychologist named Steven Pinker. He talks a lot about it in his book, Enlightenment Now. You can find out about him online. I want to reference a story from USA Today, October 23, 2018. It’s an article about his book and Steven Pinker. I’m going to read a couple of excerpts. I want to give you the feel of this. Before I do that, let me give you a little teaser, a hook.
Have you known someone in your life that was pretty negative all the time? Most of us have. How did you feel around them? Did you look forward to being with them and hearing their negative spin on pretty much everything, or was it a bummer to you that you wanted to avoid? If you are really honest with yourself, are you one of those people? Do you tend to be negative about most things? Do you tend to be negative about more things than maybe you feel you should? If you are, and also about that other negative person you don’t like being around, have you ever wondered why they’re so negative or why are you not more positive about things in your life?
Most people just attribute that to life circumstances. They say, “Well, they’ve been hurt.” “They’ve just chosen to be a miserable human being.” What I want to challenge you with today is that maybe none of those reasons are correct. Maybe they are that way because there is a mechanism in them that is functioning correctly and another that is functioning incorrectly. Maybe, them being negative or you not being more the person that you want to be, is almost being mandated and would be very, very difficult to go against.
I’ve noticed in myself over the decades, that sometimes during the day I’m really, really positive, and sometimes I’m kind of negative. Usually, after the fact I think, why was I so negative about that? That was a little overboard. I absolutely believe, in my case and in the case of many of my clients, that it was what I’m about to tell you. That one mechanism was functioning correctly and another one was malfunctioning.
Let’s take a look at the one that was functioning correctly. I believe that is being called Availability Bias. This is relatively new science, very well-done research. I believe it is true. It also makes sense with the spiritual truths. That has to be true for me or I will not believe it is true. Typically, research comes out a few years later saying, “That thing we though wasn’t true.” That’s exactly what happened with affirmations. Affirmations were just monstrous for about a decade. I kept saying this was harmful. Everybody threw rocks at me, or a lot of people did. Then, sure enough, the very first university double-blind study ever done, this is harmful, not helpful. I believed that because it conflicted with spiritual truths. What I’m about to tell you today is in harmony with spiritual truths, so I do believe this is true.
Let me read excerpts from this USA Today article about Availability Bias:
Whether you live near a natural disaster or not, it is easy to have a pessimistic outlook these days. Politics, global warming, harassment, prejudice, disease and famine are all in the news. Unstable countries have nuclear weapons. Russia is meddling with democracy. National deficit is off the charts and Flint Michigan still has dirty water. Kids are addicted to video games. Millennials are still living at home with their parents. We don’t know our neighbors anymore and crime seems to be on the rise. At least that is the narrative most of us believe. A Pew Research study from last year shows a majority of Americans feel that life in the United States was better, and in some cases much better, 50 years ago.
Availability bias looks at similar studies around the world and found the majority of Earth’s inhabitants feel the world is getting worse. Yet, these feelings simply do not mesh with reality. The world is far better than it was at any other time in history. Consider some of the facts. The average life expectance is way up. Child mortality is way down. Famine and hunger rates have collapsed. Economic output per person is up across the world and extreme poverty is way down. It was reported recently that more than half of the world’s population is now middle class or wealthier, something that 50 years ago was not even in the ballpark. There are fewer wars happening now than at any point in human history. Nations are tending in the direction of democracy. Inequality has decreased around the globe. Violence is down, including bullying, rape and domestic abuse. This is even true for notoriously brutal places, such as Mexico where violent rapes are a fifth of what they were a century ago.
To top it off, our quality of life is better. We spend more time with our children, less time in the office, less time doing housework than at any point in the last 50 years. Even the poorest of us have more spending money. You can get the data on all of these facts in a Google search. I would recommend that you do it.
Continuing: If the world is objectively better than ever, why are we so pessimistic? Part of the reason has to do with our brains and a quirk called the Availability Bias. When we see negative new reports, we don’t put it in context. Instead, a report of a murder in the town next door makes us think that killings are common and we’d better lock all our doors or we’re liable to get murdered, even though we can only name one example.
Another factor is the brain’s bias toward negativity. Bad things are prioritized and loom larger in our minds than good things. We evolved that way because paying attention to potential dangers is necessary to survival. (End of quote)
So, we have an actual mechanism in our brain that causes us to lean to the negative in virtually any situation. Negative things that happen, as I’ve been saying for 30 years, are prioritized above all other things in our memories and programming. Availability bias could absolutely be the reason that the negative person you don’t like being around is negative. It could absolutely be the reason that you are not more positive, like you would probably choose to be if you could, but you just can’t make yourself do that. It’s probably the reason that I am sometimes more positive and sometimes more negative and don’t really see any rhyme and reason why.
The availability bias takes its marching orders from our memories. Everything that ever happens, if something happens in your life, someone cuts you off in traffic, someone looks at you funny in the grocery store, whatever, and instantaneously that is run through every memory that you have. The mandate by your unconscious mind is to lean toward the negative in any life circumstance, and prioritize negative memories that are in any way related to this situation.
Well, it’s hard to get past those two gatekeepers and come out with a positive response. I think that is why you are around so few people now, who you think, “Oh, my goodness, whatever they’ve got, I want some of it.” They are loving. They are positive. They are kind. Nothing seems to get them down. How are they doing that? Do they go home and crash and are absolutely miserable until they wake up in the morning and then they put on their acting job again? Or, is this real? If it’s real, how come I can’t do that?
I believe the availability bias is another function of our unconscious mind that is trying to keep us safe, but it is acting on wrong data. The availability bias is the mechanism working correctly. Based on the data it has in most people, it pushes us to lean toward the negative in virtually any and every situation.
The mechanism that is malfunctioning is our programming based on our memories of our life, the memories that are unconscious to us because they were at an early age or in utero. Or memories passed down from our ancestors. I just completed and released my Memory Engineering program where I talk extensively about how the latest research says that for almost everyone, it would really be more accurate to call our memories “illusions” because they are so full of lies and errors. The scientist that did that research considered not ever releasing it to the world because they thought it could do harm to humanity. They thought there’s no way to fix this and if people know they’re just kind of puppets on a string to their erroneous programming, they may become hopeless and give up. It could really spawn a world-wide epidemic of apathy and disillusionment, despair, etc. They opted to release the research because they were committed to science. I’m glad they did. I do believe there is a way to fix this.
The correction function is availability bias. But even though it is the correct function, it is acting on lies and errors. The malfunction is that our unconscious and subconscious mine holds definitions that have become skewed over thousands of years. Let me illustrate it this way.
In the story of the Garden of Eden from the Bible, there was one thing, one, that had the definition attached to it of die or kill. The reason I’m bringing this up is the stress response, the other name for it is the fear response. The only way the fear response is supposed to be activated is if it’s a life or death situation, something that has the definition of die or kill. Nothing else is supposed to activate it, ever. That’s a malfunction every single time, when it is activated with something that does not have the definition of die or kill.
In the Garden of Eden, the only thing that had the definition of die or kill was eating fruit from a certain tree in that garden. Everything else, as far as we can tell, was utopian. It was Shangri-La. They did work, but it was work they enjoyed. They were naked with no shame. There was nothing wrong about being naked. As best we can tell, there was nothing wrong except eating the fruit of that one tree.
Fast forward to cave-man days. There were probably 5, 6 or 7 things that had the definition of die of kill. A guy in the next cave with a bigger club. Dinosaur. Not being able to find something to eat or water. Getting sick and having no recourse at all even if it is something like the flu, with nothing to do about it. Maybe someone who wants to take your wife for yourself. Six or seven things, maybe that have the definition of die or kill.
Now look at the Middle Ages. There are probably 50 or 60 things that have the definition of die or kill. The Black Plague, pneumonia, flu, smallpox, invading armies, dictators, etc.
Today, ladies and gentlemen, there are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds, maybe thousands of things that have the definition of die or kill. Getting a letter from the IRS, even if it says, “You did a great job on your taxes…” Which I doubt you’d ever get. I’ve gotten letters that were refunds and letters that were saying, “You overpaid. Here’s some money back.” I’ve gotten a letter that says, “We got all your stuff and you look great.” I can still remember a few times getting a letter and before I opened it, having this little shock run through my body. There’s no way that could happen if I didn’t have the definition attached to that of die or kill. I just went into fight or flight and I hadn’t even opened the letter yet. I open the letter and it’s a $500 refund. “Oh, yippee, we can go do something and have fun.” I went into stress shock before that because I had the wrong definition.
Seeing the news, seeing the stock market go down, it raining when you’re not expecting rain, not getting a parking place close to the store when you wanted one. Someone cutting you off in traffic. Someone being unkind to you. Someone looking at you funny. Goodness, gracious, there are hundreds if not thousands of them today. The only thing that is supposed to have the definition of die or kill is something that can literally kill you physically, mortally dead now.
Our definitions, our beliefs, our programming, our memories over thousands of years have not evolved; they’ve devolved to a place that we are now regularly malfunctioning because our programming has become corrupted just like a computer virus.
Even though the circumstances of the world are getting better, our experience in the world is getting worse. Why? Because our beliefs are getting worse. Our feelings are getting worse. Our thoughts are getting worse. As our memories and beliefs become more and more corrupted, devolved with wrong definitions over time.
Leaning to the negative, availability bias is one thing if I’m believing the truth and it’s just there to be a check for me to make sure I don’t get myself into any life-threatening danger. It’s another thing completely, when my programming is so full of lies and errors to the negative that I’m constantly malfunctioning because of that already, then the availability bias takes it to another level. The availability bias is supposed to be working with me believing the truth and living, basically in love, joy and peace, at least that’s what I believe was designed by God. But that is not at all what is happening because of our devolution of memories and beliefs over time.
So, how do you change to a positive bias? How do you change to believing the truth and not doing anything stupid so that you get yourself killed, but live your life free without worry and anxiety, primarily in love, joy and peace? First of all, and you can probably predict what I’m going to say here and you’d be right, first of all you’ve got to clean up the lies and errors in your memories. I would use TRILOGY and memory engineering for that. They come at the same issues from almost opposite perspectives –one code and process, the other not code based at all or anything like that. Both come at healing those lies and errors in your memories and beliefs and programming, even the ones you don’t know about.
After that, you have to make a commitment that even if it means more pain or less pleasure, you are going to be committed for the rest of your life to living in love and truth in the present moment as best you can. You’ll never do it perfectly. No one ever does. No one ever will on this earth. As best you can, for the rest of your life, come what may.
Once you clean up the lies and errors, you will be able to do that, where right now there is a decent chance that you can’t. Search on Availability Bias. Check it out for yourself. The availability bias on top of our already malfunctioning because of all the lies and errors in our heart and mind is a double whammy.
Another interesting to me, even all those things in the world are getting better, what people report is that they are less and less happy. That’s also an indicator that it’s not about the externals, but it’s about the internals. If all these things really are better than they’ve ever been in the history of the world, then how come I’m more stressed, less happy, more prescriptions, more doctor visits, more money spent on health-care, more illnesses diagnosed than ever in history? Those things don’t seem to go together, but they do go together if you understand that we’re operating on these lies and errors. The only way to get by that is to fix them. My favorite way for that to be fixed is to pray to God He just does it. I pray that every day. Outside of that, use TRILOGY, which the initial testing indicates an approximate 98% effectiveness. Use Memory Engineering to go back in time and change those memories and related ones that you don’t know about. Then, commit to living your life a different way, not based on seek-pleasure-avoid-pain, but based on what is right, what is true, what is best, what is love-based in the present moment no matter what.
That’s it. Thank you.