Our brain prefers addition to subtraction

Washers have more and more buttons. Furniture with more and more drawers. Increasingly complex computer icons. Department of obesity increased. More ways, more options, more shoes: But where does this obsession with “always more” come from?

It is no coincidence that our phones have an increasing number of functions and Pixels. Our innate brains tend to prefer adding elements rather than removing them, according to the authors of a study published in April in the journal. nature. « Most people assume that the best way to deal with a problem is to add new functionality, even if this isn’t the most reasonable solution. “” Says Benjamin Converse of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

How can I improve my soup recipe or itinerary?

Researchers performed differently Experience About how people try to change things, concepts, or situations. For example, when a new university president asks for ideas for improvement, only 11% involve throwing out something. When asked to improve their itinerary, only 28% of participants canceled destinations, even if the schedule was already crowded. Likewise, when asking someone to edit the text, only 17% of people remove words instead of adding more. The same when it comes to improving a soup recipe: On average, participants add 2.85 additional ingredients compared to the first five, the researchers note.

Another experience was tender The participants Squares with colored patterns by asking them to make the pattern symmetrical by modifying the shape elements. While symmetry was much easier to achieve by removing patterns, only 49% chose this solution. In another experiment, participants had to install the structure through Puzzle Games One foot longer than the other by adding or removing blocks. Only 41% chose the second solution.

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Withdrawing something is related to loss

To explain this annoying ObsessionThe authors put forward several hypotheses. ” Additional ideas come to mind more quickly and easily, while additional ideas require more cognitive effort. Psychologist Benjamin Converse explains. And since people often act only based on the first thoughts that come to them, they end up accepting Additives solutions Without considering the minus It is also possible that our subconscious is based on the idea that “more is better” and that getting rid of something is related to loss.

Adding employees and money somewhere won’t make you an enemy

« Over time, our additive habit solidifies and grows stronger, so in the long run we miss opportunities to effectively deal with problems. ProblemsSorry, co-author of the study, Gabrielle Adams. We see results every day through Timetable Overburdened, increasing complexity of departments or unlimited exploitation of natural resources ».

However, it will not be easy to get rid of bad habits, especially in politics. Suggesting removing half-empty classrooms at school, redundant rooms in a hospital, or unused train lines might not make you very popular. On the contrary, no one will blame you for expanding the bus network.

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