General, Social

Cognitive Miserliness and Social Media

Faith Uyi Minister Written by Faith Uyi Minister · 1 min read >

Living is about making decisions. From the moment the alarm goes off, we are poised with another critical choice to make. Interestingly yet scary, the decisions we make shape the next minute, day, week and on certain occasions, years of our lives.
It is estimated that an average adult makes at least 35,000 conscious decisions daily. This could be way higher depending on the level of responsibility a person is saddled with. The higher the responsibilities, the more decisions made per day.
Typically, the mind has structured ways of surviving or avoiding this rigour. One of such ways is cognitive miserliness. Psychologically, this describes how the mind tends to avoid or reduce the mental effort when making decisions.
Cognitive miserliness is displayed daily at varying levels and times. That one time we click the accept button without reading the terms and conditions, or when we rush to make decisions on certain business issues without considering all available and necessary information. Beyond the big things, the mind also tends to mise decision making over little things like what to have for dinner, what colour to select at a particular time and so on.
It is intriguing that the mind when faced with problems immediately outlines several options but would almost always choose the one that requires the least computational power. Another display of miserliness is seen when we saddle others with the responsibility to make decisions for us.
Although this is mostly done subconsciously, it is slowly becoming the new normal. The advent of technology has brought with it blessings and curses. There has been a sudden surge in the rise of applications especially the ones developed for social purposes.
TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, Reddit, Facebook, and other applications for social interactions have currently motivated a lot of youths to neglect the importance of critical thinking in decision making. The instant gratification further worsened by monetary rewards for fame is no worse than the current craze to rise out of poverty that has led so many into internet fraud and ritualistic killings.
Why would anyone be motivated to put in so much work to build a career when they can easily gain followers in hundreds of thousands by dancing half-naked online? Unfortunately, immediate gratification is the killer of critical thinking.
It is no wonder that Zhang Yiming the founder of TikTok openly said the app was created for jobless and unstable people. Mark Zuckerberg, in 2019 said, ‘’I don’t generally want my kids to be sitting in front of a tv or computer for a long period’’. Social media is not necessarily bad, but its misuse could have harmful effects on the mind.
Conclusively, we can agree that the easy way out is hardly ever the best out. Critical thinking and the ability to carefully analyze major decisions is an innate ability required both for survival and success. I employ us therefore to be ambassadors in our little way to save what is left and continue reemphasizing the need for an active mind pushed beyond its comfort zone.

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