Ken Larsen's web site - Biased Thinking

    

A fascinating Wikipedia entry that I found is this one on "Cognitive Biases".  As I read it, it quickly became evident to me that we're all biased thinkers.  At one time or another, we've all exhibited the flaws of one or more of the listed biases (185 in all).  If you don't think so, then that's a bias.

 

Can we change?  I assert that it is virtually impossible, because:

 

Information overload There is too much information.  Every day we're exposed to more and more information, and there is no way to keep up with it all.   
Paucity of time The average person is too busy with their job, family, and personal health to have much time to dwell on anything else.
Limited purview Each of us has a different "lens" on the world.  The size of our lens varies from person to person.  [Up until a couple of years ago my lens on school issues was non-existent.]
Attempts from outsiders to manipulate our thinking Advertisers, salesmen, and special interest groups continually make attempts to distort our thinking.  Example:  Read my web page on the Urban Growth machine.

I place religion in this category.  "In God we trust" is the U.S.'s motto.  I prefer science and reasoned thinking ... not words from a pulpit from someone who asserts that hell and fury will follow if I don't follow their lead.

Other examples are the NRA, AIPAC, and Fox News.  [Of course, the Fox News minions will argue that CNN is the culprit.]
Cognitive dissonance It's human nature to resist change.  We cultivate certain beliefs and then become very comfortable with them.  The prospect of change is a threat to our comfort.

 

The best recourse is to recognize that we each have flaws and strive to avoid rushing to conclusions and condemning the views of people who differ with our opinions.  If we need to take training, it's on decision analysis techniques

 

Educating ourselves on unfamiliar issues is vital.  If there's one huge positive about the modern world is that we now have the internet and Google.  That greatly expands our lens on the world.

 

 

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