Why is it hard for some people to learn from their mistakes?
We operate in the world of uncertainties. And because we are, most of the time, not sure what we are doing, we rely on our instincts.
However, instincts could not foresee what lies ahead of our action. As a result, not all outcomes are satisfying. Some people are more frustrated than others. While some are more successful than the majority.
But, really, what makes some people become successful is their ability to learn from their mistakes.
Mistakes can tell clearer picture than a mere instinct. Learning from mistakes is crucial in making decisions.
Unfortunately, some people find it hard to learn from their mistakes. As a result, they, more often than not, repeat the same mistake over and over again.
What makes people seemingly unaware of their previous failure?
A team of researchers led by Professor Seth D. Pollak conducted a study on this regard. They administered risk and reward tests on young adults who, in their childhood, experienced maltreatment.
The finding suggests that those who had stressful experience during childhood find it hard to anticipate impending risky situations.
Professor Seth D. Pollak concluded that “It’s not that people are overly deciding to take these negative risks, or do things that might get them in trouble.”
So what makes some people unable to learn from their mistakes? Professor Pollak further explained. “It may very well be that their brains are not really processing the information that should tell them they are headed to a bad place, that this is not the right step to take,” Pollak said.
The study digs deeper beyond paper and pencil tests. The authors found, using brain scans that people maltreated in their childhood had low brain’s activity in areas associated with loss.
The finding explains why some people don’t learn from their mistakes. Some areas of the brain might have been experiencing some discrepancy.
“And then, when they would lose, we’d see more activity than expected – an overreaction – in the part of the brain that responds to reward, which makes sense,” said Pollak.
“If you didn’t catch the cue that you were likely to lose, you’re probably going to be pretty shocked when you don’t win,” Pollak concluded.
Overall, the finding reminds all parents and guardians the importance of proper parenting. Behavioral development during childhood is crucial. Thus, children must be loved and guided accordingly.
I’m a licensed psychometrician, author, and blogger. I’m currently working as a University instructor teaching psychology. I love writing and doing psychological research.