7 Easy Steps to Dodge Jumping to Conclusions

Jumping to conclusions is an obstacle in communication1. Usually, people jump to conclusions without actually reviewing the overall perspectives. 

Think of a situation where you want to ask for extra time to complete your project from your immediate boss, but you ditch the idea because you pre-assumed that all bosses are the same. So conclusion jumping is practiced by all, and it provokes flawed decisions and regression.

In this article, we have discussed jumping to conclusions in detail. Why do some people jump to conclusions instantly? Does a direct jump to conclusions land you in trouble? What are the inferences for such nasty decision-making? Is it a practice on its own or affiliated with some underlying problem? Why does this habit prevail and what are its effects? Keep reading to find out.

1. What Does Jumping to Conclusions Imply?

jumping to conclusions
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Jumping to conclusions means that a person is not following the substantive path of decision-making2. Pathing is not a prompt activity.

The conclusion usually appears at the end. A person can conclude after they have done good R&D, followed the path designed for it, looked properly into the suitable alternatives, made an efficient decision, and reviewed the said decision. 

People jump to conclusions without analyzing the shreds of evidence, and that leads to negative situations. Such decisions are less reliable and do more harm than benefit. 

2. What Makes People Jump to Conclusions

jumping to conclusions
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Often people indulge in negative conclusions due to the following: 

2.1. Labelling or Overgeneralizing Things or People of a Group

Somewhere unknowingly, we all practice labeling. It means to have the same perspective for all. It is like deductive reasoning, where you generalize things based on a few specific observations. We generalize things all the time. When we see or hear something enough times, it becomes a general thing. In this, a single negative experience can carry you for the rest of your life, or vice versa.

Like “Introverts are boring” because you’ve heard that enough times and seen it once, or maybe twice. So when an interesting kid who doesn’t open up easily greets you, you blow them off just because the kid in question is an introvert. That’s labeling. 

Consider the following examples to get more insight into it.

  • “People only discuss useless things” This is what you think. It makes you take a back seat when it comes to communicating with others.
  • A friend betrayed you, and now you feel like trusting people will always bring you to the pit of betrayal.
  • Weight-lifting is something a girl cannot be interested in because this is a ‘boy thing’.

Implications it has on communication: It makes you form the wrong image of people around you. You will either avoid conversation or experience some kind of verbal spat.

2.2. Mind Reading 0r Negatively Assume What Others Think

First, people need to understand that they are neither magicians nor psychologists. People generally assume that they can guess what other people are thinking. It often leads to false conclusions. It’s almost impossible for you to read someone’s mind unless the person you are reading the mind of is exceptionally close to you.

So when a person tries to understand what is going on in the other person’s mind without asking them, they fail, and it once again leads to negative assumptions, which further leads to jumping to a conclusion.

Because of the scarcity of evidence, people support negative beliefs that lead to frustration, anxiety, and conclusion-jumping3. Just following a few actions, expressions, or any non-verbal gesture, one decides what the other is thinking.

And often, people indulge in negative conclusions without even asking others.

Following are some examples of how people indulge in mind reading or negative belief formation:

  • You find a bunch of colleagues laughing together and suddenly stop in your tracks. You strongly feel they were making fun of you.
  • You wave to your best friend who is with someone else. Your friend didn’t notice. It compels you to think the friend is angry or has found a new best friend.

Implications on communication: Mind reading or assuming what others are thinking can lead to false or harmful thought formation. It can grow into wrong beliefs. It can affect your relationships.

2.3. Fortune Telling 0r Predicting Outcomes Even before the Onset of the Event

jumping to conclusions : fortunre telling
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Fortune telling is negatively perceiving future outcomes. Fortune telling or sketching negative conclusions is deciding a result in advance and then afterward, feeling bad about something that didn’t even happen.

Few examples of fortune-telling predictions4 to make it clear:

  • You abandon your idea of gyming because, ultimately, you will leave it after two days, that is, what you think and predict.
  • The product is not high priced, which means it will be of low quality.
  • You will fail badly with your next assignment because you negatively feel about it.
  • Your team member is late for a meeting you believe he has not completed the presentation. Ultimately you will lose the deal.

Implications it has on communication: Predicting future events can steal your peace. To live under the stress that there’s something negative just waiting to happen makes you less interactive in the present life.

3. What Accelerates Jumping to Conclusions? 

Jumping to conclusions is categorized as a type of cognitive distortion. Cognitive distortion means a loop of thought that makes people believe or perceive things that are not real. 

It works well in negative thinking, where negative thoughts strengthen negative emotions, which constructs negative beliefs.

Persons with delusions exhibit jumping-to-conclusions tendencies5. Research reveals that people with delusions often jump to conclusions. Delusions are the inability to make a sound judgment. That is why sufferers rely on insufficient evidence/data to conclude.

jumping to conclusions
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Anxiety also pushes us to make negative conclusions.

Anxiety lines up paranoid thoughts that provide a suitable base for conclusion-jumping. More anxious people tend to fall into the pit of false conclusions.

If you panic a lot about the most general things, you may entangle yourself in the web of the worst possible outcomes. Panic leads to hasty decisions made in the light of false predictions and assumptions. When you are in a state of panic, the tendency to jump to conclusions often increases.

4. How One Can Dodge Jumping to Conclusions?

‘Jumping to conclusions’ has another name, and it’s called inference observation confusion. It happens when one decides with limited facts or assumes things to conclude. It can happen when a person is not in their normal state of mind or is unable to draw a bigger picture in their mind.

Dodging jumping to conclusions
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When you know about your tendency to jump to conclusions, you can take the help of the ladder of inference. Chris Argyris introduced the ladder of inference as a tool or steps that our mind follows while making any conclusions.

This ladder consists of seven steps arranged that guide you through crucial decision-making. 

Let’s see how these seven steps of a ladder can take you to sound decision-making:

4.1. Review Reality and Facts

The first step is to ensure sound, factual grounds for any decision or conclusion. It is when you deal with the given facts. When you directly jump to the conclusion, you are most likely overlooking facts relating to the situation, which could have affected the conclusion a lot. So the first thing to do is consider all the related facts and then move forward.

At this stage, the point to note is one should rely on facts. You can connect reality with given facts and only then move to the next step.

4.2. Interpretation of Facts properly 

Now that you have all the unbiased facts gathered, you have to interpret those facts; without interpretation, there is no use of all the facts. This step demands interpreting the given facts correctly to draw a more accurate and reliable inference. 

  • Interpreting data needs sound judgment that is free from the tendency to jump to conclusions.
  • It is preferable to double-check facts before interpretation.

4.3. Bias-Free Selecting Facts

Jumping to conclusions
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It is crucial to choose from facts that comply with your current and future requirements. So now, when you are considering facts, you need to consider them without letting your emotions hide one or two facts to be considered.

One can have a sound and reasonable conclusion only when all the factors are considered without cognitive bias. While selecting facts, keep in mind the following:

  • At this stage, your facts haven’t been of use. But they will be used at this stage, for the selection to be done carefully.
  • The selection should be sound and bias-free.
  • Avoid relying on predictions.
  • Choose details that actually assist your decision process.

4.4. Making Certain Assumptions

Some facts aren’t of help directly in concluding. Here, we have to make certain assumptions based on those facts, which can be helpful in drawing a conclusion. As the future is uncertain, relying upon premises is the only option we have, but is there anything else we can do?

Yes, to rely upon assumptions based on given facts. Cognition differs from that, which is why at this step, different inferences differ by various people.

  • You have to set up the premises for further work. Make sure you avoid generalization. For example, pre-assuming that it is easy to raise funds is a wrong premise.
  • Another example is assuming that this project will not work as you think. You’re trying to tell the future again. Avoid that.

4.5. To Draw Conclusions

Now that we have all the facts, unbiased facts, with assumptions based on facts, we conclude on the availability of evidence. And alongside that, our emotional deposit also guides us in decision-making. 

A lot of times, our assumptions and what we have interpreted from evidence affect our decision-making. 

Conclusions mean a foundation for actions, so make sure your conclusions are practical and reliable. 

4.6. Beliefs Establishment

Once we conclude, a kind of strong belief for a person or situation is made forever. It will guide our future outlook and decision-making. This is not a generalization. We are not using this instance as a general instance, and we won’t be concluding only via this one instance.

This belief is a type of reference; when there is a similar kind of situation in front of you, you can have inspiration and reference from this situation’s conclusion and its consequences. 

4.7. It’s Action Time!

After all the above steps, one decides on their best-perceived idea. Remember, each action has its equal and opposite reaction. It will again create beliefs and assumptions and will guide our cognition.

5. Jumping to Conclusions Can Harm Your Relationships

jumping to conclusions
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When you are in a relationship, your partner expects you to understand them. When you jump directly to the conclusion about the matters related to your partner, it breaks his/her expectations. Jumps can be bad for your relationship; to avoid this, you can always follow some steps to maintain healthy relationships.

Few instances in life when you jump to conclusions:

  • Seeing your partner using the phone, you may infer that the other person doesn’t care for family and house well.
  • Seeing your partner shopping online, you might think your partner will spend their entire bank balance.
  • Your partner never made a certain dish, so they can’t cook. 

The above examples show how we choose inferences easily.

How does one avoid this? Let us see some points on that:

5.1. Understand Your Partner

If you jump to conclusions, make sure to give yourself enough time to yourself for deciding or conclude. Understand your partner, their actions, and the factors of the situation in question. 

5.2. Understand the Circumstance

While evaluating the circumstances or words of your partner, try to see what the situation was, and in what circumstances they said it. 

5.3. Don’t Conclude Too Soon

It is better to recheck facts before deciding on the outcome. For example, you asked your partner, ‘What’s for dinner?’. Your partner didn’t answer you, so you thought it was something you didn’t like. 

You can always trace your graph of conclusion jumping. It can give you a clear picture of when and how you jump to conclusions.

6. 3 Ways You Can Stop Jumping to Conclusions Directly

We talked about how to dodge jumping directly to the conclusion; now, we will talk about 3 ways to stop it. These tricks will help you identify your mistakes and help you with your problem of jumping to conclusions.

Stop jumping to conclusions
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6.1. Recall Your Setbacks of Directly Jumping to the Wrong Conclusions

Maybe you’ll be having multiple instances when your jumping directly onto the conclusion backfired, and you regret it to this date. Recall them, and evaluate your decision-making flowchart for that instance.

Ask yourself:

  • What were you thinking?
  • What was the situation?
  • What were the consequences?
  • What was your state of mind?
  • What did you accidentally look over in the situation?
  • And in the present situation, are you considering all the facts?
  • Is your decision based on presumption?
  • Is there anything you are missing out on?

After having the answer to all of them, you can move forward.

6.2. Construct the Ability to Draw a Bigger Picture of the Situation

Whenever you feel that you jump to conclusions directly, take a moment and think. Draw a bigger picture of the situation, and consider all the facts related to the situation. The bigger the picture, the better.

This way, you will know all the facts related to the situation and the necessary facts needed to assume certain things. And while you have all the facts, you can draw a calculated and thoughtful conclusion from them. If you do this exercise daily, it will become a habit and will also help you with bigger and more stressful problems.

6.3. Point Out and Evaluate the Consequences of Movies and Television Characters

In movies and television shows, you watch, you must have seen that the characters directly conclude the situation a lot of times. But you mustn’t have noticed it in this way.

The exercise here is that whenever you watch anything, point out the character’s direct jump to the conclusion and its consequences. Notice how the character suffers because of their natural conclusion without considering the facts and dynamics of the situation.

If we were to take an example here, take Friends (the TV show) for instance. One of the most popular arcs of the show is where they argue about “being on a break“. Here, Ross hurriedly concludes that they broke up for a while, and he faced its consequences for years in the show.

 jumping to conclusions
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7. Takeaways

Our tendency to judge and make assumptions often traps us in conclusion-jumping. One can use the ways mentioned above to stop this habit, and one can follow the ladder of inference to avoid it.

To read more about the dynamics of a relationship, click here.

Infographic That Explains 7 Steps To Develop Better Decision Making Skills
Icy Health
  1. Roter, Debra L., and Craig K. Ewart. “Emotional inhibition in essential hypertension: obstacle to communication during medical visits?.” Health psychology 11.3 (1992): 163. ↩︎
  2. Brousselle, Astrid, and Chantale Lessard. “Economic evaluation to inform health care decision-making: promise, pitfalls and a proposal for an alternative path.” Social science & medicine 72.6 (2011): 832-839. ↩︎
  3. Temfemo, Abdou, et al. “Relationship between vertical jumping performance and anthropometric characteristics during growth in boys and girls.” European journal of pediatrics 168 (2009): 457-464. ↩︎
  4. Davis, Jack. “Facts, Findings, Forecasts, and Fortune-telling.” Studies in Intelligence 39.3 (1995): 25-30. ↩︎
  5. Lim, Michelle H., John F. Gleeson, and Henry J. Jackson. “The jumping-to-conclusions bias in new religious movements.” The Journal of nervous and mental disease 200.10 (2012): 868-875. ↩︎

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