Cognitive Bias

Cognitive Bias

Cognitive bias From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia-

A cognitive bias is a systematic pattern of deviation from norm or rationality in judgment. Individuals create their own “subjective social reality” from their perception of the input. An individual’s construction of social reality, not the objective input, may dictate their behaviour in the social world. Thus, cognitive biases may sometimes lead to perceptual distortion, inaccurate judgment, illogical interpretation, or what is broadly called irrationality.

Some cognitive biases are presumably adaptive. Cognitive biases may lead to more effective actions in a given context. Furthermore, allowing cognitive biases enable faster decisions which can be desirable when timeliness is more valuable than accuracy, as illustrated in heuristics. Other cognitive biases are a “by-product” of human processing limitations, resulting from a lack of appropriate mental mechanisms (bounded rationality), or simply from a limited capacity for information processing.

-Cognitive bias From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Heuristic From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia-

A heuristic technique (/hjʊəˈrɪstɪk/; Ancient Greek: εὑρίσκω, “find” or “discover”), or a heuristic for short, is any approach to problem solving or self-discovery that employs a practical method that is not guaranteed to be optimal, perfect or rational, but which is nevertheless sufficient for reaching an immediate, short-term goal. Where finding an optimal solution is impossible or impractical, heuristic methods can be used to speed up the process of finding a satisfactory solution. Heuristics can be mental shortcuts that ease the cognitive load of making a decision.Examples that employ heuristics include using trial and error, a rule of thumb, an educated guess, an intuitive judgment, a guesstimate, profiling, or common sense.

-Heuristic From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Biases and Heuristics are like two sides of the same coin, and bias conducts the more negative implications of when a heuristic goes wrong.

“A sect or party is an elegant incognito devised to save a man from the vexation of thinking.”

― Ralph Waldo Emerson

The “elegant incognito” is the mental shortcut that eases the vexation of making a choice.

A cognitive bias is a (non-random) systematic error in thinking that affects the decisions and choices that people make. The way you remember an event may be biased for any number of reasons and that in turn can lead to biased thinking and decision-making. Let us first look at a list of cognitive biases:

I bet you didn’t know there were so many errors in thinking; clue- there are more that have not been written down yet.

Study the list looking for the continuum of narrowmindedness to openmindedness; all the biases are a narrowing of thinking.

Then study the list looking for the continuum of conflicting biases to agreeing biases. Conflicting biases are actually your subconscious mind arguing with itself; death spiral of obsession. Agreeing biases are the source of fundamentalism; my way is the only way.

Understand that you do not have just one cognitive bias; but a host of cognitive biases (patterns within patterns).

Another way of looking at cognitive biases is that they are file folders set up in the subconscious mind that are short cuts for the limited data transfer rates of the conscious mind. The conscious mind only has to open the file folder to get the subconscious mind to execute the complex cognitive bias. Another part of this file system is that the file folders reside in a folder in the root directory of the mind, this file folder is labeled paradigm.

Your paradigm is your set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that have been imprinted on your subconscious mind – your way of perceiving reality. Your subconscious mind is subjective. It does not think or reason independently; it merely obeys the commands it receives from your conscious mind. Your subconscious mind is an unquestioning servant that works day and night to make your behavior fit a pattern consistent with your emotionalized thoughts, hopes, and desires (belief system).

The most profound changes that a human being can make in life are to change your paradigm.

“The most necessary part of learning is unlearning our errors.” — Zeno

“When any real progress is made, we unlearn and learn anew what we thought we knew before.” —Henry David Thoreau

“The mind is slow in unlearning what it has been long in learning.” — Seneca

“Education consists mainly in what we have unlearned.” — Mark Twain

Types of Cognitive Bias

Biases interrupt objective contemplation of an issue by introducing subjective influences into the decision-making process that are unrelated to the decision itself. We are usually unaware of the biases that can affect our judgment. The most common cognitive biases are:

1. Confirmation bias: Decision makers seek out evidence that confirms their previously held beliefs, while making less valuable the evidence in support of differing conclusions.

2. Anchoring: Overreliance on an initial single piece of information or experience to make later judgments. Once an anchor is set, other judgments are made by moving slightly away from that anchor, limiting one’s ability to accurately interpret new, potentially relevant information.

3. Halo effect: Observer’s overall impression of a person, company, brand, or product, influencing the observer’s feelings and thoughts about that entity’s overall character or properties.

4. Overconfidence bias: A person overestimates the reliability of their judgments. This can include the certainty one feels in her own ability, performance, level of control, or chance of success.

Cognitive biases are ways we all act irrationally.

What is rational behavior?

Rational means doing whatever is most consistent with your values (subconscious belief system).

Rational does not mean purely self-interested. It means acting in a way that’s consistent with what you value.

Human beings can rationalize doing anything they value.

More examples of cognitive biases

Bandwagon effect: The tendency for people to do or think things because other people do or think them. An example is choosing to get married because all of your friends are married.

Conservatism bias: Our inclination to stick to deeply held beliefs too much instead of revising our beliefs when presented with new information.

Omission bias: Tendency to judge harmful actions as worse, or less moral than equally harmful omissions (inactions). This bias is also one of the reasons why it can be a good idea to commit to something before you have to.

Ingroup bias: Tendency to treat people similar to us more favorably and to treat ‘outsiders’ with prejudice. This manifests itself not just as sexism, racism and other prejudices, but also intolerance of, say, political opponents.

Social desirability bias: Tendency to respond in a way that you believe someone wants.

Identifiable victim bias: Irrational tendency to be moved by stories impacting one person, than statistics of a similar effect on a large number of people.

The Peltzman effect describes how we take more risks when we feel more safe. After seat belts were first introduced, motorists actually drove faster and closer to the car in front of them.

The plot darkens: it’s only our friends and colleagues who are biased — me personally, I’m not biased! This is called the bias blind spot (where we can point out everyone’s biases except our own) and it’s a way that learning about biases can actually harm someone. With understanding of all these biases you might also fall into the trap of subjective rationalizing the decisions you’ve already made, rather than making objective decisions or getting closer to the truth.

As the study of heuristics and biases is a core element of behavioral economics, the psychologist Gerd Gigerenzer has cautioned against the trap of a “bias bias” – the tendency to see biases even when there are none (Gigerenzer, 2018).

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