1. You will like something more if you have to work for it
This is called The Ikea Effect. It speaks to everyone who loves their desk because they spent a night crying tears of frustration into a glass of wine while they tried to follow the assembly pictures. Even if the result is low quality, you will value it more than something you didn’t labor on. This cognitive bias also explains why your friend who makes jewelry thinks her earrings are worth $25 when you could buy a similar pair at Forever 21 for $2.80.
2. We only remember peaks and ends
You know the saying “all’s well that ends well?” That’s how we perceive events. If something had a great climax and a great ending, we don’t care how crappy the rest of it is, we’ll remember it positively. This is the peak-end rule. Consider couples who are constantly getting back together. They don’t remember the everyday bickering, they just have a euphoric recall of the peak of their relationship, and how sad they were when it ended. Use this rule to hack your next vacation: save money by making it short (duration is irrelevant to how you’ll remember it), make sure you do one crazy thing and then go out with a bang on your last night.
3. When we’re poor, we bury our heads in the sand
Being aware of your financial situation is the best way to be in a good financial situation, but we have the opposite tendency. When you suspect you’re low on cash, you avoid gathering more information like checking your bank account balance. This is called the ostrich effect. The “if-I-can’t-see-it-it-can’t-hurt-me” rule that worked with monsters when you were a kid is alive and well in that pile of bills you’re too stressed to open.
4. We love hot people
We default to a physical attractiveness stereotype that people who are good looking are also great people on the inside. We trust them, we hire them and we want to be friends with them more than their okay looking peers. Did you know that attractive people make more money than average looking people? It’s because we overestimate their abilities. We see the product as matching the packaging.
5. We’re happiest when we have less options
My biggest pet peeve is going to a restaurant and the menu is five pages long. Um, hi I don’t have two hours to have an internal debate with myself about what to order. No matter what you get, the other possibilities are dancing around your brain. Maybe ahi tuna would have been a better choice?
6. Cramming doesn’t work
You retain information best when you learn it over a period of time rather than studying hard and fast. Sorry buddies, you have to go to class, actually.
7. Showering will make you feel better
When you feel guilty or ashamed about something, you also have feelings of being physically dirty. After helping her husband commit murder Lady MacBeth envisions blood on her hands, hence this is known as the Lady MacBeth effect. If you get in a fight with your friend and feel guilty about it, showering can wash those feelings away.