Understanding Me - and You!
Effective Thinking
Emotional Intelligence
Decision Making

Summary of Biases

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As I said at the beginning of this section, the more aware you are of the glitches in the way that your brain processes information the better able you will be to manage them – increasing your understanding and helping you to make better decisions.

This is not about being stupid or clever – these thinking aberrations are hard-wired into our brains function; we are all susceptible. Even Daniel Kahneman, the person responsible for uncovering many of these biases, says:

“… my intuitive thinking is just as prone to overconfidence, extreme predictions … as it was before I made a study of these issues.”

And they are a big deal! They impact what you do every day and how you make the big decisions in your life.

But being ‘prone’ does not mean that we are unable to defend against these biases.

Defending Against Biases

  1. Recognise that you are biased – and thinking you aren’t is itself a bias!
  2. Press Pause‘ and consider how your brain:
    1. FILTERS the world
    2. creates MEANING based on little evidence
    3. prefers SPEED 
  3. Use the 3R Approach to become more aware of the unconscious processes in your brain.
  4. Discuss with others who may have a different perspective from you. But remember that the point of the discussion is to reach the best decision, not to prove your point!

Here is an image (click to enlarge) showing the different biases (and you can download the mind map).

Or, for a more comprehensive summary, here is a diagrammatic created by John Manoogian III based on Buster Benson’s analysis of Wikipedia’s Cognitive Bias entry.


Are you aware of any times cognitive biases have led you to the wrong decision? If you’re brave enough, why not share in the comments below …