Cognitive Bias Introduction:
Cognitive bias refers to the ways our brains can sometimes take shortcuts or make mistakes in our thinking. It means that our minds have tendencies to jump to conclusions or rely on certain patterns of thinking that may not always be accurate or rational. These biases can affect how we perceive information, remember things, and make decisions.
Cognitive biases can affect various aspects of our thinking, including perception, memory, attention, and decision-making. They often occur automatically and unconsciously, influencing how we interpret and respond to information or situations.
Looks difficult to understand?
Lets understand it better, There are numerous types of cognitive biases, and they can manifest in different ways. Here are a few examples:
The tendency to seek, interpret, or remember information in a way that confirms pre-existing beliefs or hypotheses while ignoring or downplaying contradictory evidence.
Imagine that a person, let’s call them Alex, strongly believes that a specific brand of smartphones is the best on the market. Alex has used this brand for years and has always been satisfied with its performance.
Now, Alex comes across an online article claiming that a different brand of smartphones has recently released a new model with innovative features and better overall performance. However, instead of objectively considering the information, Alex unconsciously exhibits confirmation bias.
Alex searches for more information about the new smartphone model. but primarily focuses on sources that support their pre-existing belief that their current brand is superior. They selectively read positive reviews, testimonials, and comparison articles that confirm their existing viewpoint. They may even disregard or downplay any negative information or criticisms about the new model, simply because it contradicts their belief.
Let’s say you’re trying to estimate how common car accidents are. If you recently saw a news report about a car crash, you might think that car accidents happen all the time, even though they are relatively rare.
Your brain relies on the easily available information (the news report) rather than looking at the bigger picture, leading to an availability heuristic bias.
Imagine you’re shopping for a new phone, and you see an advertisement for a phone that’s $1000. Even if other phones have better features and are priced lower, your brain might anchor on that $1000 price point and consider it as the standard.
It can make it harder for you to consider other options objectively because you’re anchored to that initial information.
Have you ever noticed that when a lot of people start doing or liking something, you feel inclined to do it too?
That’s the bandwagon effect. It’s when you adopt a belief or follow a trend simply because many others are doing it, without really thinking about it critically.
Imagine you’re taking a test, and you’re absolutely sure you answered all the questions correctly. You might feel very confident about your performance, even if you made mistakes.
That’s overconfidence bias, where you have more faith in your abilities than what is actually true.
How information is presented can influence our decisions.
For example, if you hear that a glass is “half empty,” you might think of it negatively. But if you hear it’s “half full,” you might think of it positively, even though it’s the same amount of water.
The framing effect shows how the same information presented in different ways can change how we perceive it.
This bias occurs when, after an event has occurred, we tend to perceive it as having been more predictable than it actually was. We may believe that we “knew it all along” when, in reality, the outcome was uncertain or unpredictable.
Let’s say there is a popular reality TV show competition where contestants perform various challenges. Contestant A is known for being particularly skilled and has consistently performed well throughout the season. Contestant B, on the other hand, has had mixed performances, sometimes excelling and other times struggling.
Now, imagine that Contestant A performs exceptionally well in the final challenge and ultimately wins the competition. After witnessing this outcome, people might exhibit hindsight bias when they say things like, “Oh, it was obvious that Contestant A was going to win all along!”
Hindsight bias refers to our tendency to perceive events as more predictable than they actually were, but only after knowing the outcome. It is characterized by the belief that we “knew it all along” or that the outcome was inevitable when, in reality, the situation was uncertain or had multiple possible outcomes.
More Cognitive Bias:
Before you have any cognitive bias on this article let me stop here and take your feedback. Let me know if I need to create one more post to share more examples of cognitive bias.