25 Cognitive Biases
The 25 Cognitive Biases:
Uncovering The Myth Of Rational Thinking
by Charles Holm
We humans applaud our ability to be rational, objective thinkers. In reality this is not the case at all. We all have the tendency to overestimate our rationality to the point of denying reality. The many ways in which we do this are collectively called cognitive biases. Our brain may be the most complicated thinking machine but it is not without limitations. In our attempt to understand the world around us through our lens we simplify things and fall prey to cognitive biases. Sometimes these biases are caused by heuristics or mental shortcuts which help us reach quick judgments when we have little time. At other times our judgment is clouded by situational factors and inner motivations and emotions.
However we are not completely helpless in this aspect. Knowing these biases exist can help us avoid them through conscious efforts. We need to be able to recognize these biases in our decision making. They are inevitable in most cases but they are not impossible to bypass.
A cognitive bias is a systematic error in thinking that affects the decisions and judgments that people make. Some of these biases are related to memory. The way you remember an event may be biased for a number of reasons and that in turn can lead to biased thinking and decision-making. Other cognitive biases might be related to problems with attention. Since attention is a limited resource, people have to be selective about what they pay attention to in the world around them. Because of this, subtle biases can creep in and influence the way you see and think about the world.
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