I am biased. Are you?
I read the New York Times and watch MSNBC because they reinforce my existing beliefs (confirmation bias).
I remember bad things done to me more than good things done for me (negativity bias).
I think that the country will ultimately be ok (optimism bias).
I didn’t think the poll results were accurate leading up to the midterms (pessimism bias).
I believe that if I flip a coin five times and get heads each time, the next flip will be tails (the gambler’s fallacy).
I think that when a driver cuts me off, he was doing it to intentionally mess with me (hostile attribution bias).
I believe it’s ok to have that hamburger today because next week I’ll eat healthier (hyperbolic discounting).
Once we bought our Ford Flex, I started seeing them everywhere (selection bias).
I think that each natural disaster is a sign of climate change (availability cascade).
If my GPS tells me to turn, I do even if I have doubts (automation bias).
If an expert tells me something, I believe her (authority bias).
I think Jets fans are loud (group attribution error).
I think people in my political party are more fact based (in group bias).
I value things I’ve made more than things I’ve bought, even if the latter is actually more expensive (the Ikea effect).
I think people mostly agree with me (false consensus effect).
Biases are when we create our own subjective reality based on our individual perceptions. They are shortcuts in how we see our world.
Sometimes these biases can be consistent with objective facts (even a broken clock is right twice a day) but often they lead us astray.
The problem with cognitive biases is not that we have them. We all do. It’s what happens when we fail to recognize them in ourselves.
Of course, there is a bias for that too. It’s called blind spot bias, which essentially means we believe that others are biased but we are not.
Check out this list of cognitive biases or this article about how they impact our decision making process. And next time you’re in a difficult conversation or debate, instead of accusing the other person of being biased, admit your own. You’ll be surprised at how that might turn the conversation around.
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