Declinism Bias

Declinism has been described as a “trick of the mind” and as “an emotional strategy, something comforting to curl up in a ball until the present becomes unbearably dark. One of the addiction factors is the so-called “memory lump”, which means that older people tend to “remember the best events that happened to them at the age of 10-30.” This means that older people are more likely to view their past in an unrealistically positive way because of their predisposition to a rosy retrospective, which makes their present and future seem inferior to them. [Sources: 0, 4]

Basically, people think that as they get older, people tend to experience fewer negative emotions and are more likely to remember the positive rather than the negative. Although positive effects and memory shocks deal with memory, negative prejudices deal with the here and now. In particular, due to cognitive biases such as optimistic retrospectives, it is a tendency to look at the past in a more favorable way and look at the future in a negative way. This belief can be traced back to Edward Gibbons [5] The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, which was published between 1776 and 1788, in which Yoshimoto believed that the Roman Empire collapsed due to the gradual loss of civic virtues. Among its citizens,[6] became lazy, corrupt and inclined to hire foreign mercenaries to manage national defenses. [Sources: 0, 7, 9]

This thinking is likely related to “decadence,” that is, a belief driven by a bias that a company or institution always gets worse over time, no matter what the facts say. In particular, because this bias makes people look at the past in an unrealistically positive way, it can make the present worse in comparison to it, which can lead people to believe that things are getting worse. Likewise, another phenomenon that can lead to decreased beliefs is pessimism bias, which is a cognitive bias that causes people to overestimate the likelihood of negative events and underestimate the likelihood of positive things, especially when it comes to the assumption that future events will occur. bad outcome. In addition, negative biases or interpretations of events tend to be more pronounced in people with depression. [Sources: 4, 9, 10]

Just as there is evidence of a positive effect, there are also studies suggesting negative bias. This is the idea that emotionally negative events can have a greater impact on your thoughts and behavior than similar but positive events. Psychologists say that people tend to focus more on negative thoughts and emotions than positive ones. [Sources: 6, 9]

And if you are depressed, research like this in 2011 shows that negative bias can have an even stronger effect on you. Negative bias probably explains much of our perception that things are worse than they are at any given time, but especially now in America. We think that nowadays everything is terrible due to the bias towards negativity, we think that everything was better in the past due to the burst of memories and the effect of positivity, and we think that in the future things will get worse due to the decline. But when you add something like “confirmation bias,” we often become so ingrained in our beliefs that we lose the ability to break an endless chain of negativity. [Sources: 7, 10]

Confirmation bias is when we have a pre-established worldview and then we try to find facts to support that belief. Thus, confirmation bias not only rejects positive facts, but sometimes forces us to reject negative information as well. Of all the recognized psychological factors that influence our perceptions and beliefs, the most important to understand is confirmation bias, as this is what is most likely to negatively affect our decision making and is what we can overcome. These biases affect every aspect of our lives and can be especially detrimental to business decision making; this risk will be discussed in this article. [Sources: 5, 7]

Cognitive bias was first proposed by Israeli psychologists Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman in the 1970s. It was considered a kind of thinking error that would lead to The information of the world produces misunderstandings, which affects the accuracy of our decisions and the rationality of our judgments. In order to simplify the complex and multifaceted world we live in and make decisions relatively faster, our brains create shortcuts called cognitive biases. In total, there are more than 180 cognitive biases that hinder us from processing data, thinking critically, and perceiving reality. This does not mean that the world is okay, but understanding these cognitive biases can help you see the world in a different light, or at least understand why you think things are so scary. [Sources: 5, 10, 11]

Avoiding the trap of decline does not mean that you need to have a positive outlook on everything; rather, it means that you need to understand the nuances of how you look at the past and anticipate the future. A little healthy nostalgia won’t hurt anyone, but it’s important to remember how distorted our memories can be. But as we age and remember the past, we remember more positive than negative. [Sources: 3, 6]

Therefore, when we compare the present with the past, we have a more positive view of the past than the present. After that, we began to think that everything was worse than in the past. Today, many people think that the world is really getting worse. [Sources: 5, 6]

Declinism is a belief, often driven by a cognitive bias, that a company or institution tends to decline or go bankrupt, and this belief is now widespread. Declinism is the belief that societies tend to decline, often associated with rosy retrospectives, our tendency to look at the past more favorably and the future more negatively. Decline tendency is when a person sees the present or future in an overly negative light and romanticizes the past in a positive light. [Sources: 3, 5, 7]

Declinism also includes our tendency to believe that the future will be worse than the past. But decline is more than a tendency to recall the past with nostalgia. The tendency to block these unpleasant moments of the past is an example of decline. [Sources: 1]

However, in some cases, decadence tendencies can be beneficial, especially when it helps people prepare for the future. One of the biggest problems with decline is that it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Another problem is that an overly rosy view of the past can cause us to ignore our past mistakes, preventing us from learning from them; Combined with decline and the belief that the future will be worse, this can lead us to repeat the same behavior without placing any bets on ourselves or other favorable outcomes. [Sources: 3, 4]

It also seems unlikely to offset the feeling of recession by arguing that we live in the best world. If we believe that society is as good as it is now, we are more likely to believe that the future will be worse than it is now. On the other hand, Josef Joffe emphasized the fact: “Excessive anxiety about potential recession may be a good way to trigger it. [Sources: 0, 1, 8]


— Slimane Zouggari


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