Did you ever think about the range of possibilities or options in a situation? Most of us don’t. We often get predisposed to act towards or accept a particular “possibility” or “option” when we learn or come across something new. This is a survival instinct kicking in to help us navigate this constantly changing world or we would be paralyzed mulling options.

What is a cognitive bias?

When you learn something new, you often get into a systematic pattern that take you away from reasoning while judging. This pattern is known as a cognitive bias. 

We often create our subjective reality based on what we took from learning.

How to overcome cognitive biases?

We need to accept that we have them. Our minds may be tricking us, but we need to acknowledge them. Then, we need to balance them out. Read more to learn more.

Why do we have cognitive biases?

There are multiple causes to why we have cognitive biases-

  • Often, our brain tends to process more accessible data than large chunks of information. 
  • Being social animals, we can not deny the influence of culture. Hence, we are not used to being surrounded by millions of people, making it hard for our brains to adapt. Instead of consciously expanding our abilities thus, we tend to limit the number of people.

Five common examples of cognitive biases

  • Optimism bias

Optimism bias is the tendency to overestimate ourselves. We favor optimism, but an overly optimistic prediction can be dangerous. We often waste time and resources to pursue unrealistic goals.

  • Negativity bias

While it enables many to learn more, most people would agree that having a negative bias overcomplicates our challenges. Negative bias is the tendency to get biased towards a negative insight. Also, negative biases do not cancel the optimistic ones

  • Confirmation bias

We often tend to focus only on the new information that confirms our old beliefs. This tendency is known as confirmation bias. Also, getting attached to a particular idea makes us biased towards a specific opinion.

  • Cognitive Miser Theory

If you go through any of Daniel Kahneman’s researches, you will come across a proposition. “Our brain is lazy.” Hence, tend to believe anything that’s easier to understand and needs minimum effort. We often tend to give up on verifying facts due to this tendency. This tendency is known as Cognitive Miser Theory.

  • Anchoring effect

Do you find yourself getting attached to the first information you encounter? Most of us do. The tendency is known as the anchoring effect.

Besides, when the scientists finally concluded, ‘The earth was not flat,’ many were against it. Why? Did we know better? I guess it was our biases. These biases kill possibilities. And we need to realize them first, to get rid of them.

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