We see it all the time in test taking, and it can be so frustrating: why would we change the answer if we actually knew it?!
Here’s why this happens – and being aware of it now will enable this habit to fade away.
Unbeknownst to our conscious brains, our unconscious brains are constantly processing information and solving problems for us. Unconscious processing is why we have “gut instincts” that are unerringly accurate sometimes, or why we leave the house knowing we’ve left something behind, even if our conscious mind can’t remember what.
On the way to the airport we realize: our passport!
The unconscious mind knew all along. It just takes our conscious minds a few seconds, minutes, or longer to catch up sometimes.
In testtaking, the unconscious mind often knows the right answer and leads us to it by gut instinct. But then our conscious mind jumps in and says, ‘Wait a minute! I can’t explain why this is the right answer!’
And we start to feel anxious. How do we KNOW this is the right answer? We can’t find the explanation. And we feel more and more nervous about the answer we first chose.
In order to ESCAPE the anxiety our mind has put on the first answer now, we run to another answer and choose it.
Not because we have any good reason to – but because it’s NOT the first answer, which by now we’ve attached so many worries and anxieties to.
We run from the first answer not because we have a good reason, but purely to escape the anxiety our mind has placed on it.
We haven’t actually found a sound, logical reason for the second answer, though! We just know it’s not the first answer (the one our unconscious mind liked). And then guess what: we get it wrong. The first answer was correct.
How do you fix this common error?
Ban yourself from changing your answer unless you can find a clear, definite, irrefutable, and logical answer why your second answer is actually the correct one.
Otherwise, go with your gut instinct. Stick with your first answer.