Cognitive Biases

Our unconscious biases are often so strong they can lead us to act in ways inconsistent with both reason and our values and beliefs.

Some of the most common types of cognitive biases which can affect us are listed below. Awareness is the best way to overcome these biases and neutralize their influence.

Fundamental attribution error 

This is the tendency to attribute situational behavior to a person’s fixed personality. For example, people often attribute poor work performance to laziness when there are many other possible explanations. Perhaps the individual in question is receiving projects they are not passionate about, or their rocky home life is carrying over to their work life, or they may simply be burnt out.

Confirmation bias 

Confirmation bias is the tendency to seek out information which supports our pre-existing beliefs and we form an opinion first, then seek out evidence to back it up, rather than basing our opinions on facts.

Halo effect 

The halo effect occurs when someone creates a strong first impression, and that first impression sticks. This can happen at work or in personal relationships.

Bandwagon effect 

The bandwagon effect is the tendency to do what everyone else is doing. This creates a kind of "group-think", where people run with the first idea that’s put on the table, instead of exploring a variety of options. The bandwagon effect illustrates how we like to make decisions based on what feels good, or what everyone else is doing, even if the decisions represent poor alternatives.

Bias blind spot 

If we begin to feel we’ve mastered your biases, keep in mind we’re most likely experiencing the bias blind spot - the tendency to see biases in other people but not in ourselves.

All We Need to Know

Recognizing and understanding bias is invaluable and helps us to think more objectively, and interact more effectively with other people.