Recently, in my reading, I have come across the term “Cognitive Bias”, which is usually defined in the context of the material I happen to be reading at the time. I decided to Google It. When I read the Wikipedia on it, it started to dawn on me how pervasive it is.
Wikipedia listed three major categories: 1) Decision-making, belief and behavioral biases with 115 sub-categories (I may have miscounted), 2) Social biases with 28 sub-categories, and 3) Memory errors and biases with 50 sub-categories. That’s nearly 200 identified biases. Cognitive bias is an evolutionary phenomenon that makes it easier to make choices when there are multiple options. Often times it results in the right decision, but, this may be a little more random than we might like.
Cognitive Bias is only a problem if you are concerned with the relevance of observation or the importance of any decision based on observation. So, no big deal.
Virtually all sensory input is subject to some form of cognitive bias. The biases are not from the senses, but how the brain interprets and reacts to stimuli. The more I read about this, the bigger the can of worms became. The occurrence and severity of cognitive bias can be reduced through training and exercise, but how likely is that to happen on a large scale? Our only real way of dealing with it is to be aware of it and think before we act.
I will explore some of the different biases in future posts.