Instant Gratification in Effect with Voting Outcome


Marissa Edelman, Featured Teacher and Club Corner Editor

On average, people spend 3 hours and 15 minutes on their phones per day according to a study done by Rescue Time. Our phones have changed how our society functions today. If you’re lost, want food, or just bored, phones have the answers to all of these common problems in just a moment. Technology today is what has led to impatience in teens and adults alike. In our everyday life, we desire our problems to be solved instantly. Why would it be different when it comes to an election?

The results of the 2020 presidential election kept many people glued to their TV screens until the president-elect, Joe Biden was announced. Conversely, President Donald Trump attempted to call the election by tweeting, “I won the election!” 

The President made this claim before all votes were counted, giving his supporters a false sense of gratification. As humans, we have a feature known as selective attention, which is a result of cognitive limitations. 

An Exploring Your Mind report shows that humans will only hear what they want to hear as an adaptive response because we can only focus on one thing at a time to not get overwhelmed. Confirmation bias also affects listening skills, which is when people only look for information that supports their beliefs or desires. 

Many Trump supporters on election night automatically believed President Trump won. Once they received the news they wanted to hear, they automatically believed it due to confirmation bias. This is also the reason many Biden supporters were glued to news sources while election results were coming out. It became addictive because they wanted to find evidence that would support their desire for Biden to win. As more results came out in favor of Biden, they had the rise in dopamine (a neurotransmitter linked to pleasure) they desired. Many continued to look for news on the subject to get the instant gratification Trump supporters received prematurely. 

While the President posts tweets about the election being fraudulent and creates new lawsuits providing no significant evidence to the public, many supporters of him believe what he is saying due to their cognitive bias. They agree with what gives them the gratification they desire instead of finding data to support their argument.