Cognitive Biases 101
Have you ever shouted, “I knew it!” when the opposition team starts hitting boundaries against your favorite team in cricket and goes on to win the match? Have you ever noticed how you tend to see food everywhere around you when you’re hungry? Or have you ever believed only the information that caters to your opinion? These situations take place as a result of cognitive biases.
What are cognitive biases?
Cognitive biases are subconscious misconceptions that are present in our thinking, which leads us to misinterpret information from our surroundings. This often affects our rationality and the accuracy of our decision-making process. Sometimes these biases could have a positive impact as well. It can make our thinking and decision-making process even more powerful besides fastening it. They are necessary when we face dangerous, or risky situations. There are several different kinds of cognitive biases, they affect people in various ways.
What causes cognitive biases?
Our brain processes thousands of pieces of information throughout the day. No matter how capable our brain is, it reaches its limit at one point. Our brain can't think of every possible option while doing even the most rudimentary tasks. As a result, it tries to simplify the information and use mental shortcuts, allowing us to act instantly. These mental shortcuts are called heuristics. Of course, they are highly systematic, it often leads to errors in our thinking. Other causes include the individual's motivations, limits on the mind's potential to process information, decreased cognitive flexibility as a result of growing old, and social pressure.
How do cognitive biases affect our daily lives?
As mentioned earlier, cognitive biases affect our judgment and decision-making skills. Along with this it could affect the trustworthiness of our memories, challenge our ability to respond to stressful situations, and lead to an increase in our anxiety and depression. We cannot entirely avoid cognitive biases, but we surely can learn ways to not let them affect our everyday thinking.
Identifying these biases is the first step to overcoming them. Increasing the reliability of our memory and minimizing distractions. Stepping back and slowing down to think about all available options before jumping to any judgments or decisions can help strengthen our reasoning skills. Learning about cognitive biases, expanding our range of reliable sources, and questioning our decision-making when facing a situation that can make us vulnerable to biases can help us overcome them.
A WORD FROM SOCIALLY SOULED
Our mind loves relying on automatic processing, we humans love faster and more effective decisions. As a result, we cannot get rid of cognitive biases fully. Researchers believe that we can get better at identifying situations where we are susceptible to bias and take corrective measures to overcome them.