Psychological Traps (2/2)

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Posted on July 3, 2013 by

The Confirming-Evidence Trap

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We may give too much weight to information that supports our existing point of view and too little to conflicting information.  We tend to decide what we want to do before we really find out why we want to do it. So, please check if you are gathering information to help you make a smart JUPAS choice, or just looking for evidence to confirm what you think you want to do.

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Examples of confirming-evidence:

  • When we hear some rumors, we tend to find every bit of supporting details.
  • Some students may fancy about getting into a certain profession without giving thoughts to the practical working environment, to how life would be like in such a profession …
  • You may have the perception that a certain program is not of interest to you.  However, there could be a lot of interesting aspects unknown to you.

The Framing Trap

Your decision is much affected by how you look at your choices or how you frame the question around it.  Right before you make your final JUPAS choices, I am sure that many parties will offer their advice.   Always think about how they framed the problem.

Examples of how you may frame your JUPAS decision:

  • I am going to find a program to best invest the next four years of time.
  • I want to win this JUPAS game.
  • I must not disappoint my [parents/teachers/peers …].
  • I want to get into a degree program, whatever it may be.

Important note: in my point of view, not all of these ways of framing are advisable.

My advice for you:

  • Stay open-minded.  Look at things from different angles.  Be honest to yourself.
  • Gather more information to make a smart choice, even on programs that do not seem to be of interest to you at this point.
  • Think about your goal in life.  In your JUPAS list, only include programs that you will be happy to join.

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Click here to read Part I

Betty Law
Associate Director, Undergraduate Recruitment and Admissions Office, HKUST

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