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Mental Health

10 Ways To Think Straight, Without Bias

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By Irshad Anwar
7 Apr'22  6 min read
10 Ways To Think Straight, Without Bias
Synopsis

 How do cognitive biases affect your decision making? From where do they originate? Careers360 explains the top 10 common biases affecting students and offers tips to avoid being biased. Explanations with examples tell you how different biases influence your brain. Improve the way you study by understanding these biases and taking steps to avoiding them. Reading this article will help you in the way you attend classes, how you ask questions in the class and study for board exams or entrance exams like JEE or NEET. Scroll down to find out.

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10 Ways To Think Straight, Without Bias
Synopsis

 How do cognitive biases affect your decision making? From where do they originate? Careers360 explains the top 10 common biases affecting students and offers tips to avoid being biased. Explanations with examples tell you how different biases influence your brain. Improve the way you study by understanding these biases and taking steps to avoiding them. Reading this article will help you in the way you attend classes, how you ask questions in the class and study for board exams or entrance exams like JEE or NEET. Scroll down to find out.

Read more

Cognitive biases are systematic errors in thinking or deviations from reality. They occur when the brain processes and interprets pieces of information and eventually affects the judgments or decisions. The way we see the world may not necessarily be that way in reality and this may be because of systematic errors in the thinking process.

Nowadays we are bombarded with a lot of information on a daily basis. It becomes difficult to process all the information and events that happen in our surroundings. Thus, our brain resorts to shortcuts to process the information efficiently and quickly to reach at the decisions, judgments or to solve problems. This process is called heuristic. In this process, when the brain interprets the knowledge or information using a heuristic to reach a decision quickly, it may result in cognitive biases. Attributions or allegations come into play when people attempt to find or interpret an explanation in order to understand why people do behave in certain ways.

In this article, Careers360 lists the top 10 cognitive biases every student should know as these biases influence their thinking process, decision making, opinion building and behaviour.

1. Fundamental Attribution Error

Fundamental attribution errorFundamental attribution error

Fundamental Attribution Error refers to the bias in which someone attributes, judges or explains others’ behaviour based on their fundamental characters or personality rather than by the situation. And it becomes the opposite in the case of judging oneself. In other words, the role of a character or dispositional factor is overemphasised while the role of situational factor is minimised. So, we tend to believe that other people do bad things because they are bad.

For example, Rahul is late to class; he is lazy. But it might be possible that he is late because of a bad morning or traffic or any other situation but you judged him over his character.

Also Read,

2. Self-Serving Bias

Self serving biasSelf serving bias

In Self-serving Bias, people tend to credit themselves for success while blaming the situation or someone for failure. So, this bias makes you favour those decisions that enhance your self-esteem.

For example, when you get success in your project, you assume that it is because of your hard work. On the other hand, if you fail to land a project successfully, you are likely to blame it on bad luck or the situation.

3. Halo Effect

Halo EffectHalo effect

When a specific character or initial impression of an individual overshadows all other characters, it is known as Halo Effect. This can be in both ways: positive or negative. It is also known as the physical attractiveness stereotype when you judge someone on their physical characteristics.

For example, in this bias, if your classmate is good-looking and attractive, you presume him to be smart and intelligent. But that is not true in every case; believing a book to be valuable if it has been promoted by your favourite teacher is another example.

4. False Consensus Effect

False consensus effectFalse consensus effect

The False Consensus Effect makes us believe that most people around us have the same opinion as we do. Eventually, we do overestimate our beliefs, opinions, preferences and values because we tend to believe in a consensus or harmony in which people agree. It actually arises from a desire to conform to norms and be praised by others.

For example, you believe that other students have the same opinion as yours on the important topics for an upcoming exam.

5. Spotlight Effect

Spotlight effectSpotlight effect

You can call it the “All eyes on me” effect. Due to this bias of spotlight effect, an individual tends to believe that he is being noticed and feels more centred but that is not the reality. This bias comes from self-consciousness and thus overestimates.

For example, if you ask a typical question to your teacher, you think that everybody in the class is going to judge you and talk about your stupidity. But in reality that is not the case; everybody has their own life to attend to. So, most of them don’t notice as much as you feel and if some of them do, they don’t care.

6. Just World Hypothesis

Just World HypothesisJust world hypothesis

This cognitive bias is a common belief that the world is just like that: the world is fair, people get what they deserve or deserve what they get. This hypothesis is also a cause of fundamental attribution error. We assume that “everything happens for a reason” and acts of injustice are deserved.

For example, if your classmate fails in the exam and you believe that this happened because he was mean to you; he didn’t provide you with the study notes. This is an example of a belief that a noble action will be rewarded while an evil action will be punished eventually.

7. Forer Effect (Aka Barnum Effect)

Forer effectForer effect

This cognitive bias makes you believe that the said personality description is meant only for you. However, they can be applied to a wide range of people. Because of this effect, you are more prone to accepting paranormal practices or beliefs such as future telling, and astrology.

For example, reading and believing a horoscope in the newspaper that says you are going to get good grades in the upcoming exam. This makes you act accordingly.

8. Dunning Kruger Effect

Dunning Kruger EffectDunning Kruger effect

This bias comes into play when we overestimate or overrate our abilities. In other words, under the influence of this effect, the less we know, the more confident we are. The more we know, the less confident we are due to caution. This develops because the low ability individuals are devoid of the skill required to recognize their own inability.

For example, an amateur student overrates his performance in the exam compared to his classmates.

9. Google Effect

Google EffectGoogle effect

It is usually known as digital amnesia too. Due to this effect, you tend to forget the information because your brain is less likely to retain information that is readily available and can be accessed again through search engines such as Google. However, it is applied to all those sources of information that are easily available.

10. Confirmation Bias

Confirmation BiasConfirmation bias

Under the influence of this bias, you search, favour and memorise only that information that satisfies your perception or pre-existing belief and you avoid other information that can be true as well.

For example, you follow people on social media sharing your opinions or viewpoints. Only following the information about the exam pattern delivered by your favourite teacher is another example of Confirmation Bias.

Tips To Avoid Being Biassed

Students are moré prone to the 10 cognitive biases discussed above. These biases can affect your decisions about the study hours, study pattern, book choices, confidence, willpower, ambition and eventually your goal in a way you will never know. So, you should be aware of being biassed. Tips to overcome biases are given below:

  • Be aware

  • Consider the factors influencing your decision.

  • Be curious and have a mindset to grow.

  • Consider both sides of the information.

  • Listen to multiple perspectives

  • Stay open for intellectual humility

  • Reflect on past experience

Make sure that your decisions are not based on bias or under the influence of some effects. Our mind is highly plastic. Understand that your brain keeps on changing by everything you experience, everything you encounter, everything you do, and by also everything you don’t do! You and your brain are constantly being shaped by the world around you. So, allow your brain to change or make new perceptions. Read more here about how you can build the brain you want.

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