empress2inspire.blogMental Health

Thinking Biases & How to Overcome Them

We all have largely unconscious mental processes that can influence our perception of reality. These cognitive biases enable us to quickly assess situations, but they can also lead us to make poor decisions. How we think can influence what we think and lead to errors of judgment and poor decisions.

Here is a list of most common thinking biases and suggestions on how you can overcome them :

  • Confirmation Bias : This bias means that you pay more attention to people and ideas that you agree with. You can overcome it by talking to a diverse range of people before you make a decision.
  • Halo Effect : This bias means that your overall impression of someone is influenced by one part of their character. You can overcome it by remembering that first impression may not be the most accurate.
  • Hawthorne Effect : This bias means that if someone knows that they are being observed or monitored, it can alter their behaviour. You can overcome it by taking a long term approach and make observations of others as discreet as possible.
  • Negativity Bias : This bias means you pay more attention to and remember things that are negative. You can overcome it by taking time to actively reflect on the good things that have happened.
  • Bandwagon Effect : This bias means that you tend to believe things more when other people do. You can overcome it by listening to your gut. What would your opinion be if you didn’t know anyone else’s?
  • Dunning Kruger Effect : This bias means that unskilled people overestimate their ability and experts doubt themselves. You can overcome it by being more self aware.
  • Ikea Effect : This bias means that you place a disproportionately high value on the things that you personally create or assemble. You can overcome it by knowing that just because it is you idea does not mean that it is a good one. Know when to cut your losses.
  • Outcome Bias : This bias means that you judge your decisions based on your outcome, instead of the quality of decision when it was made. You can overcome it by taking time to reflect on what information you had at the time and if you would do anything differently.
  • Planning Fallacy : This bias means that you underestimate how long it will take for you to complete a task. You can overcome it by giving yourself more time than you think. Start earlier.

The bottom line is that the cognitive biases that affect us all will make it likely that heads will more readily discover reasons to believe that they have been, and will continue to be, successful and they will not have to search very hard to find plausible reasons that support that belief.

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17 replies »

    • I am glad you found this post useful Jill. 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.

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