eBook: What Cognitive Biases Are Covering Up and Why Decision-Making Is At Risk

Cognitive Biases

The human brain contains 100 billion nerve cells. Together they make it possible to activate 1016 processes per second. To compare, the fastest computer in the world, the K supercomputer (Japan), can reproduce just 1% of human brain activities.

It seems with power like this humans can be capable of anything. Yet the disappointing reality is that the same organ which makes us the most talented beings on earth can at the same time fail to provide us with a plausible picture of that world around us.

How Is It Possible?

One of the reasons our brain misjudges things that are happening to us are cognitive biases. These psychological phenomena stand for a tendency to misinterpret reality because of perceptual errors.

There can be several explanations as to why we do this:

1) To simplify things – real-life situations are extremely complicated and frequently incomprehensible. What we don’t understand we try to substitute with something familiar;

2) To protect ourselves – some say our biased opinions help to cope with difficult or dangerous situations more effectively, so that excess tension and fear may be avoided;

3) We are inclined to create our own, subjective social reality. Therefore, we tend either to adjust everything that occurs around us to it (at best) or ignore or deny everything that doesn’t fit with our beliefs at worst.

The Danger of Cognitive Biases

While cognitive biases might really work as defense mechanisms in certain situations, they nevertheless pose a palpable threat to decision-making. They can mislead, deceive and make us behave irrationally.

It’s also worth remembering that biases operate at an unconscious level. It means we don’t realize them and hence don’t know when exactly our opinions are biased. Still, psychologists succeeded in revealing plenty of them, so it’s really a huge progress in discovering cognition mysteries.

Hoping to guide you through at least several curious paths our opinions take before we actually realize them we’ve made a brief review of 5 cognitive biases, so that you can be better informed about their impact on you.

5 Cognitive Biases You Should Be Aware of:

1. the anchoring effect;

2. the bias blind spot;

3. the illusory truth effect;

4. the peak-end bias;

5. the frequency illusion or Baader-Meinhof phenomenon.

The best way to resist the deceitful illusions caused by these biases is to know about them and approach our own perceptions with a sound degree of critical thinking.

Understanding the influence of cognition errors on your perception is extremely important. In most cases being rational and objective is the key to right judgment. How else are you supposed to make sober decisions on everything that is crucial to your life, if not rationally and objectively?

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