People who don't learn from mistakes

People who don't learn from mistakes

Not everyone is able to learn from their mistakes. According to science, this could be due to the lack of two emotions: shame and guilt. However, there are equally surprising factors, we analyze them in this article.

People who don't learn from mistakes

Last update: April 09, 2022

People who don't learn from mistakes, who stumble ten times on the same stone, but also become fond of it and carry it on their shoulders.

It's easy to think that this profile exhibits little more than some sort of experience blindness, cognitive clumsiness, or emotional immaturity that causes them to make obvious mistakes to others.

Who hasn't made the same mistake two or three times? It is very easy to find yourself establishing the same type of relationship over and over again, embracing those bonds that hurt and leave their mark. Likewise, it happens to insist on certain impossible goals that have only led us to fail.

Is he stubborn? Sometimes yes. Is he naive? Perhaps. It is worth remembering how Benjamin Franklin defined human stupidity: always doing the same thing and expecting different results.

Nothing is as necessary for each of us as admitting that "stupidity". In other words, detecting the mistake, learning from it, and adopting alternative behaviors to move forward, grow and improve in any way possible. So let's try to understand why it is sometimes so difficult to realize such an obviousness.

People who don't learn from mistakes: why?

There are many reasons why many people don't learn from mistakes. First of all, we must keep in mind that there are "errors and errors".

It can be wrong to trust the wrong people over and over again. We can also talk about those who set goals and always fail in the same point, in the same aspects.

Ma there are also other types of errors, such as those relating to ethics and morals. Think, for example, of the prison population and one of the aims of prisons: to reintegrate them into society.

To do this, men and women who have committed a crime must become aware of their guilt, their mistake, repent and re-enter society like others.

Learning from one's mistakes implies empathizing with the evil caused and being able to defend other values, more human, more ethical and respectful.

However, as we all know, a good percentage of short-term or long-term ex-offenders commit a new crime. Pwhy does this happen? Why are there people who don't learn from mistakes?

Guilt and shame of learning from mistakes

When you make a mistake, everyone feels ashamed. If you hurt other people on top of that, it is also common to feel a strong sense of guilt.

These emotions play a crucial role in human behavior: there they help to make amends, to want to resolve certain dynamics so that these sensations no longer manifest themselves. Beyond that, we want everything to go better a second time for our own good and that of others.

So one of the reasons some people don't learn from their mistakes is because they don't feel the aforementioned emotions. This is demonstrated by a study conducted in 2014 at George Mason University on 500 convicts.

The results indicate two profiles. On the one hand, those who have felt guilty and improved with probation; on the other hand, those who have escaped their responsibilities and concentrated the blame on circumstances, on external factors.

The A1 mutation, another reason why there are people who don't learn from mistakes

Tilmann Klein and Dr Markus Ullsperger of the Max Planck Institute for Human Brain and Cognitive Sciences in Leipzig, Germany, say they know why there are people who don't learn from mistakes.

The origin would be genetic and, specifically, consequence of what they called the A1 mutation. This mutation reduces the number of D2 receptors in the brain, to which dopamine attaches.

What are the implications of this? We must first understand what role this neurotransmitter plays: it promotes learning, motivation, reward, the feeling of pleasure.

If all these dimensions fail or are minimal, the individual does not will feel no motivation to correct their mistakes, improve or grow. 

It is certainly a curious fact that is worth considering. In this case, the inability to learn from failure would have a brain origin.

The fault lies with others!

To understand what drives certain people not to admit or correct their mistakes, one fact cannot be ruled out: too many individuals they ignore any responsibility and place it on others. It is common behavior, the purest reflection of irresponsibility and immaturity.

It is always easier to blame others or assume that fate has played a bad joke on us. I am not successful in business because there is a crisis; I started a relationship with a narcissist again, because the world is full of them. I am not responsible for anything!


Situations like the ones described abound far more than we think. Few aspects are more relevant to our existence than detecting failure, admitting guilt, error and have the audacity, intelligence and sensitivity to admit it and remedy it. This not only ennobles us, but also promotes the growth of the human species.

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