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What Is Cognitive Bias?



Before everything we do, there happens a decision-making in our brain and as per the decision made, we act.  Before we buy something, we think and make decision and act accordingly.

Before we enrol on something, we think and decide whether to enrol or not.  Before we say yes or no to anyone’s proposal, we think and then only give our decision.  The decision-making happens throughout our life, from dawn to dusk.  Ever thought why you say Yes, when you decide to say yes? Every thought what are the bases behind every decision you make? How do our brain really functions in decision making? Scary part.  If brain can be always right, why would there be wrong decisions? People decide to date with wrong person just to regret later.  People decide to buy something just to feel money wasted, later.  We join colleges, choose courses, and some of us regret.  There are so many instances that we have made poor decisions in life.  WHY DID THAT HAPPEN? HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?

Also, we humans are constantly observing, interpreting, learning, trying to understand, building perspectives and views, making judgment on everyone and everything around.  “This clothe is not nice.”  “That girl is a good girl ” “That man is trustworthy.”  “That job is right job.” “Trump will surely lose”  etc etc.  So, what made us to decide good from bad, right from wrong? what are the basis of our prediction? Why our prediction fails? why we end up calling right as wrong and wrong as right? why we fail in judgment?

You see, our brain can be crazy and stupid, very threatening to our well being, if…IF we don’t know to figure out the biased thinking that our brain is prone to.  This systematic pattern of deviation from norm or rationality in judgment, whereby inferences about other people and situations in an illogical fashion is called cognitive bias.

To put it in much simplest way.  We tend to define everything around us based on our perspective, our life experience, our exposure, our understanding, borrowed beliefs, and different influences and moods.  This is called subjective social reality.  Subjective isn’t necessarily objective.  Objective reality can be way different than being perceived.  This individual’s construction of social reality not through objective input but subjective, may dictate their decision-making and judgment in social world.  There happens the error.

This systemic error in decision making and judgment mainly due to,
1.  Social influences.
2.  Mental Shortcuts (heuristics)
3.  Limitation of brain’s capacity to process information
4.  Emotional and moral influences

is called Cognitive bias.

Though, there is nothing unnatural about being cognitively biased as in generally every human is biased cognitively, it’s possible to try not to be, it’s possible to not get trapped in own subjective reality, and it’s very important to try at best being cognitively unbiased to avoid poor decision-making and holding wrong opinions or passing wrong judgments.

Over the last six decades of research on human judgment and decision-making in cognitive science, social psychology, and behavioral economics, many types of cognitive biases are identified.  If one could judge and decide overcoming these biases, the person can be considered best decision maker.

As Buddha Said, “See The World As It Is And Not The Way You Think It Is Or It Should Be Or You Want It To Be.”  It’s Same As Psychologist Saying “Try Not To Be Cognitively Biased.”

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