What is Cognitive Bias?

What is Cognitive Bias? – Before diving into defining what a cognitive bias is I would like to make a clear distinction between the mind and the brain as I see it. Our brain is part of the visible, physical world of the body. It is an organ. Our mind is part of the invisible, transcendent world of thought, feeling, attitude, belief and imagination. I would describe the mind as the conscious self, that “inner self” we talk to as we elaborate thoughts and experiences and the brain as our physical processor (the machine). Unless we consciously choose otherwise, we will find that our feelings and emotional states (mind) are dictated, for the most part on “autopilot”, by how our brain has been “trained” to evaluate external stimuli and past experiences and as with any kind of training, our brain will function based on the tendencies we develop and reinforce over time.

Cognitive biases are these psychological tendencies that lead our brain to draw often (but not always) inaccurate or incorrect conclusions.

In this series of posts I will provide an overview of the following cognitive biases; False Consensus Effect (Social), Déformation Professionelle (Decision Making) and Positive Outcome (Probability/Belief). In each instance I will provide a short overview of the history of the bias, highlighting any researcher’s involved while also providing an analysis of the potential Pro’s and Con’s associated with each bias. I will conclude by applying one particular bias to a professional project experience and highlight key learnings from my new understanding and awareness of cognitive biases and how these learnings may help to improve my decision making in the future. In future posts I will explore cognitive bias in the context of digital innovation and marketing and share my findings relating to both risk and opportunity.

You will find these links at the bottom of each post so feel free to skip to a particular bias or review them in order.

Congitive Bias 1 – False Consensus Effect

Cognitive Bias 2 – Déformation Professionelle

Cognitive Bias 3 – Positive Outcome Bias

Application of Bias – Case study