Cognitive Bias

Have you ever felt that left-handed people are more talented and creative than right-handed people?

I personally hold this belief that left-handed people are more talented, creative than right-handed people. Whenever I see any person who is intelligent and smart and coincidentally the same person is also left-handed, I will confirm my existing beliefs. Is it true that all left-handed people are more talented? Well, I too don’t know.

These errors in our thinking that are leading us to draw erroneous conclusions are called cognitive biases. Those are the irrational errors we commit when making decisions. The same irrational thinking applies in every aspect of life like shopping, investing, and judging people as well.

What is Cognitive Bias?

Cognitive bias is a mental shortcut that our brain uses to process information and make decisions quickly with little effort. Biases can explain why we sometimes act so irrationally.

Examples:

  • Blaming outside factors when things don’t turn out your way.
  • Attributing other people’s success to luck, but taking personal credit for your own accomplishments.
  • Learning a bit about a topic and then assuming you know all there is to know about it.

How did it get originated?

The concept of cognitive bias was first introduced by researchers Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman in 1972. Since then, researchers have described a number of different types of biases that affect decision-making in a wide range of areas including social behavior, cognition, behavioral economics, education, management, healthcare, business, and finance. The revolutionary study of cognitive biases led Daniel Kahneman to win the Nobel Prize and opened the rapidly expanding field of behavioral economics.

How does it affect our decision?

  • Biases can lead to distorted thinking.
  • Biases lead us to avoid information that may be unwelcome or uncomfortable.
  • Biases can affect our decision-making skills, limit our problem-solving abilities, hamper our career success.

What are the few types of Cognitive Biases?

Confirmation Bias: Confirmation bias is the tendency to seek, pay attention and interpret information in a way that confirms what you already believe. We seek information that confirms what we already believe. Any piece of new information that contradicts our beliefs often gets ignored. I personally hold the belief that left-handed people are more talented, creative than right-handed people. Whenever I see someone who is intelligent and smart, and coincidentally the same person is left-handed, I will confirm my existing beliefs. If you hold a belief, then you will always find reasons to hold that belief.

Dunning-Kruger Effect: The Dunning-Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which people with limited knowledge in any given domain overestimate their own knowledge or competence in that domain. It simply means that when we don’t know something, we are not aware of our own lack of knowledge. We often overestimate our skills and most of the time we are even unaware of this bias. 

Halo Effect: The Halo effect is a bias where the perception of one trait of a person or object is influenced by the perception of other traits of that person or object. 

How to overcome these Cognitive Biases?

  • Don’t jump to the conclusion. Always seek information that challenges or contradicts what you believe.
  • While you cannot eliminate these cognitive biases, you can improve your ability to spot the situations where you’ll be vulnerable to them.
  • Slow down your decision-making process.

References: Curated from multiple sources

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