We Actively Avoid Information That Can Help Us

Recently, Emily Ho of Northwestern, David Hagmann of Harvard, and George Loewenstein of Carnegie Mellon asked more than 2,300 survey participants whether they would like to get various kinds of information that could be useful to them, including how their retirement accounts stacked up against their peers’, what listeners thought of a speech they’d recently given, and how coworkers rated their strengths and weaknesses. The team found that the respondents opted out 32 percent of the time, on average.

The conclusion: We actively often avoid information that can help us.

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