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10 Biases that Affect Your Decision-Making

10 Biases that Affect Your Decision-Making Reading Time: 4 minutes

Did you know that almost all of our actions and decisions have an implicit bias in them? There are so many unconscious biases that play a vital role in each decision. This article will talk about such biases. Read on.

We all have our little prejudices buried deep within our consciousness that often plays an important role in our day to day lives. These prejudices, also known as biases, comes in various forms and are of various types.

This article will talk about (13?) biases that affect our daily decisions that we have never thought of. Now, there is nothing in the wrong if you have any or even all of them but after reading this article you should be able to make a more informed decision and knowing whether bias has influenced your decision.

 

Availability Heuristic

Sometimes people end up overestimating the information that they have. No matter how limited it may be but the fact that it is available in front of them makes an important impact on their opinions.

For example, if you know few people who smoked daily and live up to 90 years, you’d still argue that smoking is not unhealthy as you have certain evidence in front of you, which might just be the exception but not the norm.

 

Bandwagon Effect

Have you ever noticed that your opinion may be influenced by other opinions around you? This is what is known as the bandwagon effect. In this, the probability of a person’s adopting a particular belief increases if a similar belief is held by others.

In most cases, it is also called the ‘Herd-Mentality’ and often ends up people accepting things without questioning it. This is a powerful form of groupthink and because of it most meetings up being unproductive.

 

Recency Bias

Recency bias refers to the tendency to weigh on the latest or the last information more heavily rather than earlier data. For example, if you were given a string of names, most likely it will be that you will remember the last one the most and think about the question while keeping that information in mind.

 

Clustering Illusion

Human beings are meaning-making species. They seek meaning in everything, as that is one of their key attributes. Following from this, there is a tendency to see patterns in every-day random events.

Now, this may seem harmless exploration of life at first but it has a dangerous side to it as it is key to various gambling fallacies. For example, in a roulette, we feel after a certain amount of blacks have come that the probability of red has increased, which is however not the case.

 

Anchoring Bias

You may have noticed that the first piece of information that you hear often ends up informing your decisions. This is called Anchoring Bias. Studies have shown that most people rely on that first piece of information.

For example, say in case of salary negotiations, whosoever makes the first offer establishes a possible range of possibilities in each other’s minds.

 

Choice-Supportive Bias

It happens to all of us, we are often conflicted whenever we have to choose between two things but after we have made that decision, we feel good about it. Whenever we choose or have something of our own, we tend to be positive and defend it, even if that has flowed.

For example, you may feel your dog or cat is the best in the world – even if they bite people once or twice.

 

Conservatism Bias

This bias comes when people tend to favor prior existing evidence over new evidence which may be something contrary to the present belief. This is known as Conservatism Bias.

The prime example of is that people initially were slow to accept that our Planet, Earth was round because earlier ideas and opinions and understandings that Earth was flat.

 

Placebo Effect

This is also one of the most famous biases, but one which has a positive side to it. It is called the Placebo Effect. It leans on having faith in positivity. It is observed when simply believing that something will have a positive effect on you actually causes it to have that effect.

The simplest example comes from the field of medicine, where during drug trials people are given fake pills, also experience the same effects as people given the real drugs.

 

Confirmation Bias

One of the most common experiences biases out there. Confirmation bias means that we tend to listen to information or view that tend to confirms our own preconceptions. In the age of social media, this has led to the phenomena of ‘the Echo-Chamber’ effect.

This is one of the primary reasons why it’s getting difficult to have intelligent conversations on various important issues, for example, Climate Change.

 

Stereotyping

Another bias that almost all of us suffer from is the ‘stereotype’ bias. Stereotyping is a mental practice that reduces a complex person to a simple category. And based on that reduction we expect them to have certain qualities, which they may not have.

This is a very bad habit but the most common examples that come are like stereotypical statements like women are bad drivers. That is not scientifically true and we have a made a stereotype based on gender bias.

 

To Conclude

So, how many biases you think you have? Do you know any other that we might have missed? This is not an exhaustive list as there are others but for us, these are the most important ones and which we all have.

You may be thinking, okay now we know such biases exist in us, but how do we fight them? Well, the only way you can is by knowing about them and then thinking carefully before making any new decisions. This is the best way to deal with implicit biases. I hope this article has been helpful, till then cheers and keep exploring yourself with BrainPundits!

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