Bias Du Jour #1

by F.

As a new and exciting feature of Two Newtons, I’ll be posting one cognitive bias a day. A whole long list of them can be found on Wikipedia. Exactly how one should debias seems to be an open question. Some methods are less effective than others, as suggested this paper. So I won’t presume to offer any debiasing strategies, but merely a list of the biases. And now for Bias Du Jour #1.

The Bias Blind Spot: The tendency of people to fail to compensate for their cognitive biases.

Pronin et al. described to subjects certain cognitive biases to which people are generally prone. When they then asked the subjects how biased they themselves were, subjects rated themselves as being much less subject to the biases described than the average person. In this way subjects were much like the parents in Lake Wobegon, all of whom think their children are above average.

Cites: Pronin, E., Lin, D. Y., & Ross, L. (2002). The bias blind spot: Perceptions of bias in self versus others. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 28, 369-381; Pronin, E., Gilovich, T. D., & Ross, L. (2004). Objectivity in the eye of the beholder: Divergent perceptions of bias in self versus others. Psychological Review, 111, 781-799.