Regardless of how objective you think you are, you’re still affected by cognitive bias because our brains love tricking us. Our beliefs about global warming, smoking and even getting a pet are all influenced by the mistakes we make thanks to our subconscious thoughts.
That doesn’t mean that all biases are bad — some are actually quite helpful. This infographic reveals more about our cognitive biases and what they mean, like our tendency to pay attention to information that confirms what we already think. Logically, it makes a lot of sense. Wouldn’t we all rather be proven right than astoundingly wrong and have to admit failure? Or even better, what if we find ways to have our unhealthy behavior justified? Sure, I ate two pieces of chocolate cake for breakfast, but I also read that chocolate can reduce headaches and help you live longer, so who’s really losing here? Our confidence in our viewpoints can be problematic if we justify bad decisions thanks to cognitive bias.
Obviously, some of our biases are a little more dangerous, like overconfidence, stereotyping and a love of certainty. Luckily for us though, biases are malleable and often change. Life experiences, evidence that proves us wrong and even persuasive arguments can help us see things in a more nuanced way. Funnily enough, adjusting your biases could be attributed to the bandwagon effect, which is another cognitive bias. There’s really no escaping it.