7 Human biases that affect our Judgement

You're probably wondering whether you were right or not on "Which line is longer?" in the thumbnail of this post that you saw. Just read along and you'll discover the answer soon enough.


A variety of cognitive, perceptual, and motivational biases influence human judgment and decision-making. However, being aware of them and reflecting on how they influence our decisions is an excellent strategy to ensure that they do not have the final say. A bias describes a replicable pattern in perceptual distortion, inaccurate judgment, illogical interpretation, or what is broadly called irrationality. According to the Psychology wiki, cognitive biases are the result of distortions in the human mind that always lead to the same pattern of poor judgment, often triggered by a particular situation. In the following blog post, we shall be discovering 7 prominent human biases that affect our judgement.




1. Confirmation Bias

Confirmation bias is the tendency to seek, interpret, endorse, and search for information in a way that confirms or supports one's previous beliefs and values. People show this bias when choosing information to support their views, when ignoring conflicting information, or when interpreting vague evidence to support existing beliefs. When people simply hunt for information that confirms their pre-existing perspective about something, they are said to be in this mode. Confirmation bias cannot be ruled out, but it can be managed, for example, through the education and training of critical thinking skills.



2. Fundamental Attribution Error

This is a situation where you make contextual justifications for your own mistakes and inadequacies but not for others. Also known as correspondence bias or over-attribution effect, it consists in overemphasizing behavioral personality-based explanations found in others, without overemphasizing the explanation of the situation. In other words, people have a cognitive bias that assumes that a person's behavior depends on who he or she is, rather than on the social and environmental forces that affect him or her.



3. Pessimism/Optimism Bias

The following bias actually applies in two forms. When we are in a good mood, we are more likely to believe things will turn out nicely. In contradiction, when in a poor mood, we are more inclined to believe things will turn out badly, which is known as the pessimism bias. Be mindful that emotions can lead to erroneous thinking, whether you're optimistic or pessimistic.




4. Selective Perception Bias

This bias helps to explain why some people appear to see just what they want to see. Our expectations influence our perception, which is known as selective perception. For example, because your friend is your friend and you think they're fantastic, you might expect them to do well in their presentation. You may not see all of your friend's blunders, but you will catch all of the other presenters' flaws due to selective perception.



5. Self-serving Bias

People tend to attribute success to their abilities and efforts, but failure is attributed to external factors. When things go well, we attribute success and favorable outcomes to our efforts, reveling in our own glory; nevertheless, when things go wrong, we tend to blame other people or external forces. According to Simply Psychology, the self-serving bias suggests that no one wants to admit to being incompetent and are likely to blame failures on something external to ourselves.




6. Conformity Bias

This form of bias is generated by peer pressure in a group, according to a well-known study dating back decades. Conformity bias is the tendency of people to behave like others, regardless of their beliefs, instead of making independent decisions and acting based on them. This bias is a serious problem as it can lead to errors and can have a negative impact in our lives and daily decisions. It leads individuals to seek acceptance and validation from others. In addition, people want to have opinions and views that are considered acceptable in their community. Consider learning about these 10 other common mistakes that we tend to make.



7. Affinity Bias

This happens when we see someone with whom we feel an affinity; it could be because we went to the same college, grew up in the same town, or that they remind us of someone we know and like. Affinity bias can turn into discrimination when we become too attached to people who are like us. When we feel so strongly about our beliefs and opinions that people who disagree with them evoke a strong negative response in us, affinity bias has gotten out of control. It inhibits growth because we need our opinions to be challenged in order to really learn and grow.






So, back to the question: "Which line is longer?"





Of course line A is longer. You probably thought it was too easy and since we highlighted B, you may have agreed with the wrong answer. This question tests the Conformity bias which we saw earlier in this post. If you agreed with the wrong answer then your judgement was affected by the Conformity bias. If so, you're not alone; a similar experiment was carried out in which 75% of the participants agreed with the obvious wrong answer. That just shows how easily our brains can be tricked and how our beliefs are shaped by those around us.


Everything that contributes to a life with value seems to come down to one thing: Making good decisions. These Biases cause us not to make objective decisions and it can be very dangerous to our lives and even the society as a whole. We hope this blog post was insightful. It is important to stop biases from clouding our judgment and preventing us from reaching the fairest, most accurate conclusions.


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