Blindsided by the Einstellung Effect

I’ve been blindsided on occasion – just didn’t see it coming. I’ve also not seen alternatives right in front of me – or chosen an inappropriate or less-than-optimal solution to a challenge facing me. Even when I knew about a better solution.

It’s called the Einstellung effect – a variation on the scotoma effect – a bias for previously stored knowledge over current or new information even when that new information solves or better solves a problem.

“We believe that we generally approach problems with an open mind. However, the brain unconsciously steers our attention towards previously stored knowledge. Any information that does not match the solution or the theory we have already internalized, tends to be ignored or masked.” (Merim Bilalińá, Department of Psychology, Alpen-Adria University)

How do I beat what my brain won’t let me see?

You may be closer to the solution than you think. Listening to others, particularly those closest to you, is the solution to this bias that often shows up in those times in which you feel you’ve been blindsided. Others may see what your brain won’t show you.

So PAY ATTENTION to and learn from others.


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