Many people believe they know how to read people very well. They believe that they can perceive someone’s character, intentions, and attitudes from a quick meeting or observation of the person.

How accurate is this?

Because we have so much information coming in, we have to rely on cognitive shortcuts. This is because looking at all the information in a systematic, scientific way would take too much time and energy. Therefore, our brains quickly process information and take shortcuts to form a conclusion.These cognitive shortcuts are based on a person’s past experiences, their biases, and their habits of thinking. Considering this, cognitive shortcuts are often inaccurate.

What problems can cognitive shortcuts cause?

Many people who seek counseling have difficulties with relationships. They often analyze others, make conclusions based on cognitive shortcuts, and act accordingly. They believe that their conclusions are accurate, and they seldom challenge these assumptions. This can result in missed opportunities to connect to others, resentment, social anxiety, and isolation.

Counseling often helps people recognize these patterns of thinking, change their thinking, and make positive changes in the way they relate to others.