The Dangerous Effects of Cognitive Bias

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The truth is that each one of us is biased. We look at the world through our own lens of experience. The needs, interests, values and beliefs that form our identities, may be what shapes our unique perspectives—but it’s also what dictates our reactions, opinions and behaviors. For better or for worse, taking this refracted view of situations is what’s called a “cognitive bias”.

A cognitive bias is a pattern of forming judgment through limited, or preferential selection of information. When a cognitive bias is present, we create our own “subjective reality” that informs our behavior which can sometimes have unintended consequences, or “blind spots”. As an example, this TED Talk animation Rethinking Thinking by Trevor Maber, models this form of cognitive bias through the “Ladder of Inference” concept.

While diversity of the individual experiences of a group has been shown to make teams more effective and impactful—when we forget objectivity, aren’t inclusive of other’s experiences, and become mired in personal blind spots—we undermine not only our own potential, but the potential of others.

On an interpersonal level, this can cause discord, disharmony and even disdain. On a cultural level, this can cause polarization, disruption, and even a dissonance that tears at the fabric which binds us. On an individual level, blind spots can get in the way of reaching personal goals, aligning others, or even making a meaningful impact that was worth the effort.

In all of these ways, blind spots become the antithesis of who you’d objectively prefer to be. Today, navigate to your Prism Practice Areas in the SurePeople platform. There you’ll find a collection of Blind Spots that originated from your Prism Portrait. They’re what naturally occur where you’re strongly defined in one area and not in another. Assess your Blind Spots at your own discretion. Do they fit? Does one, or two? Only you can exercise the self-awareness necessary to determine that. And the emotional intelligence to do something about it.

Don’t just take our word for it though, when you’re ready to acknowledge that your blind spots exist and readily impact you, explore this media hub produced by PWC in collaboration with Harvard University that’s all about outsmarting the human mind.

“We all have a blind spot and it’s shaped exactly like us.”

– Junot Diaz

Do you have an idea you want to share with an empowered community of self-aware professionals? If you’d like to contribute an idea or article to ‘In The Flow of Work’ on the Evolve blog, just send us a message or submit a post to our Head of Content, Adam Schneider

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