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Ice Cream and Shark Attacks


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All humans have "problems" with any ideas of causality.

This commonly comes out when somebody says:

"Correlation does not mean causation."

A common example is that in summer, people buy more ice cream.

And in summer more people go swimming.

Since more people are going swimming, there are more shark attacks.

So you COULD see a correlation between ice cream and shark attacks.

By assuming CAUASATION, when there is really correlation, you would say that eating ice cream CAUSES shark attacks.

This idea is also where a lot of superstitions pop up.

For example, let's say you happen to be wearing your pair of purple underwear.

And you happen to see an attractive person who smiles at you.

It's easy to make a connection between the purple underwear and the smile.

From then on, you'll believe your purple underwear is now your LUCKY underwear.

This seems kind of silly.

But academic researchers who NEED grant money know that finding ANY kind of CORRELATION is pure gold.

They don't actually say X causes Y.

But they don't need to.

They just need to say X is LINKED to Y and they KNOW most people, including media goofs, will ASSUME that "linked" is a "cause-effect" word.

If you want to persuade people, cause-effect is a very powerful way.

Why are we so likely to assume cause-effect where none exists?

Scientists believe it was a benefit.

Our brains are fast but inaccurate.

Maybe there was an ancient race of people who stood around trying to logically prove everything.

But they all got eaten by tigers.

The ones who survived were the ones who RAN AWAY first, and figured out why later.

They've even done experiments on six month old babies.

And they find these babies ASSUME plenty of cause-effect links where none really exist.

This is interesting, but it's also VERY DANGEROUS.

Turns out this cause-effect "instinct" is the main CAUSE of social anxiety.

How so?

From the ages of zero to two, most adults were encouraging us to stand up and talk.

But then from the ages of two on, they did the opposite.

They told us to sit down and shut up.

This created a very DANGEROUS cause-effect "brain equation."

One like this:

Expressing Desire = Danger

Unfortunately, this happened BEFORE we learned much about language and reality.

Our brains aren't really finished cooking until we're AT LEAST seven.

This means between the ages of TWO and SEVEN we are getting some VERY NEGATIVE messages.

Messages that say expressing ourselves is dangerous.

That calling attention to ourselves is dangerous.

Luckily, we can DETACH that brain equation.

And GET RID of social anxiety.

Learn How:


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