What Are Cognitive Biases?
How to make better decisions...
Would you love to make more rational decisions?
Do you sometimes look back on the choices you’ve made or the things that you’ve said and wonder what on earth possessed you to act that way?
To help you make more rational decisions, I’m going to help you discover the cognitive biases that are already affecting your decision-making processes.
Cognitive biases have an enormous impact on our decision making and a huge impact on our lives. The best way to control for that impact is to be aware of it.
The more mindful of cognitive biases you become, the easier it is to pick up on them and you’ll be able to make more rational decisions. If you can account for, allow for and understand the impact of those biases, you can begin to take more control of the choices you are making.
What Are Cognitive Biases?
Cognitive biases are something that we all have, something that we all do as human beings, they are effectively shortcuts that help us make decisions.
Where Do Cognitive Biases Come From?
There’s a lot within how we act and how we behave that ties in with our caveman ancestors, our animalistic selves.
Part of what we are designed to do is preserve energy because we want to get the maximum gain possible for the minimum amount of effort.
Ultimately, our biggest driver is to survive and part of that is the three Fs: we need to feed, we need to fight (protect and defend ourselves and our tribe) and we need to fornicate to continue our bloodline (you didn’t think I would use a different ‘F-word’ did you?) Those are the things that matter most to us on that deeper subconscious level.
Our brains are one of the organs that take up the most energy, so we want to minimise the amount of unnecessary work for our brains. As animals one of the ways to reduce the amount of brain energy used is we take a lot of shortcuts. Some of these are simple, obvious ones that are quite sensible, but others we have taken a bit too far.
On a basic level, these shortcuts are building an understanding of the things around us and how they work, for example, sitting on a chair. Every time we see a chair, we know how to sit on it; we don’t have to look at it, examine it and work out how to use it.
What's The Downside Of Cognitive Biases?
We have taken these shortcuts beyond this basic level and in this modern world, things are more complicated than we were initially designed for. Thanks to our ability as humans to communicate and be self-aware, we have a great foundation with opportunities to grow and develop ourselves in any direction that we choose. A big part of us being self-aware is that we also make mistakes, we are fallible.
This leads us to cognitive biases, They come in to play when we need to make a decision. That could be a decision we don’t even realise is a decision, making a snap judgement about a person, or identifying something as a threat, all of which happens before we are consciously aware we are doing it.
We have certain structures and systems, shortcuts, in place to make the decision-making process easier for us. This evolved from really simple examples, like if someone is smiling, we assume they are happy and that makes them less of a threat.
These processes can get in our way as well, we can trip up and stumble over different things, which can get confusing. One of the most obvious examples of a cognitive bias is cognitive differentiation. An example is when we drive, we see loads of cars but we barely notice them unless the driving is poor and then we end the journey thinking that everyone was driving ‘like a nutter today’, completely forgetting all the drivers that were sensible. This is just one example of the many cognitive biases that are out there and lead us down different paths to making decisions.
Where Can You Find Out More About Cognitive Biases?
I’ll be regularly posting blogs which will cover one bias in more detail each time, so make sure you are signed up to receive them all.
You can check out my YouTube channel for my videos on cognitive biases:
You can join my Facebook group:
Feel like you keep making “Stupid Decisions”?
Check out my blog post: https://mindaffinity.co.uk/why-am-i-so-stupid