10 Reasons Brexit Won


I hope this has goes some way to explain why those voting to leave are not “All stupid and racist”, and why those who voted to stay may think they are!

The Brexit win came as a surprise to many. The shock initially led to many ‘Remainers’ unable to get their head around what they saw as a totally irrational leap into the dark. There was, after all, no real plan for what an exit would bring, compared with the status quo of remaining.

Well, the truth is, it is in our mental wiring. Our brains are processors that have many built in programs to enable our survival both as an individual and as a species. We all automatically process thoughts and feelings through filters, most of which we are unaware of. These unconscious, automated processes give us a tendency to act with a particular bias. Cognitive Biases have been studied for many years and explain why the decisions we make might not appear rational to our conscious mind. Even these biases show that we all think individually that we are less biased than everyone else!

The following are the top ten reasons why the inclination towards Brexit was more likely than expectations and predictions.  It also explains the aftershock.

#1. Anchoring: The tendency to rely too heavily, or “anchor”, on one trait or piece of information when making decisions (usually the first piece of information acquired on that subject).

Uncontrolled migration was arguably the number one argument and highly publicised through the press and other news media, often in a negative way.

#2. Curse of knowledge: When better-informed people find it extremely difficult to think about problems from the perspective of lesser-informed people.

Better informed people tend to have similar friends. They are less likely to hold conversations with the “lesser informed” and understand their lives from their perspective. It also explains why the Markets got it so badly wrong.

#3. Empathy gap: The tendency to underestimate the influence or strength of feelings, in either oneself or others.

Where you live and work, and your level of income will set your view of life to those people most like yourself.

#4. Neglect of probability: The tendency to completely disregard probability when making a decision under uncertainty.

Nothing is more uncertain than moving from the status quo into the unknown. Whilst the probability of Leavers winning was reported as low it seemed unlikely that a vote to leave would actually lead to that probability and therefore seemed a low risk option where that possible end result could be discounted.

#5. Not invented here: Aversion to knowledge developed outside a group.

The public were not given an unbiased source of information or debate. Everything came from one camp or the other. This entrenched people into sides rather than encouraging discussion.

#6. Pessimism bias: The tendency for some people, especially those suffering from depression, to overestimate the likelihood of negative things happening to them.

Hope was a missing factor from both sides. Those who don’t feel they were listened to or have anything to lose probably voted to give those in charge a “bloody nose.”

#7. Reactance: The urge to do the opposite of what someone wants you to do out of a need to resist a perceived attempt to constrain your freedom of choice.

No-one, but No-one, tells a Brit what to do – especially leaders of other countries. Those most negatively affected by Tory austerity policies being told by Mr Cameron to vote remain, could have only made them more likely to vote to leave. It would also see him out of office, so for them – a bonus.

#8. Reactive devaluation: Devaluing proposals only because they purportedly originated with an adversary.

The animosity of campaigning made many adversaries’. Their messages would be devalued automatically.

#9 Illusion of truth effect: That people are more likely to identify as true statements those they have previously heard, regardless of the actual validity of the statement.

In a campaign devoid of helpful, unbiased information it was all down to often repeated statements of probabilities stated as truths.

#10 Naïve realism: The belief that we see reality as it really is – objectively and without bias; that the facts are plain for all to see; that rational people will agree with us; and that those who don’t are; uninformed, lazy, irrational, or biased.

This would be the thoughts from whichever side you were on! It certainly explains the outpouring of recriminations and name calling in the few days after the result.  

Steven is a specialist in removing unwanted thoughts and feelings. He has helped hundreds of people like you, who really couldn’t imagine the joy of life that you can achieve with the right help.

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