Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Human Bias - The Self & The Group

We spend all our waking hours in our own company.  Not surprisingly we come to see ourselves as unique and special.  Self-serving bias is a form of self-preservation and is a very significant bias in our decision-making processes particularly when it leads to irrational and entrenched modes of thinking.  It is the tendency to see oneself as responsible for desirable outcomes but not responsible for undesirable ones.  Self-relevance effect is the unsurprising tendency to recall facts referring to oneself better than facts referring to others.  Placement bias is a tendency people have to rate themselves as better at the skills they believe they excel at then they actually are and to rate themselves poorer at the skills they believe they suck at then they actually do. Risk compensation is a tendency to take greater risks when perceived safety increases.  The status quo bias and system justification bias are tendencies people and groups have to want things to remain the same.

Delusional behaviours
Subjective validation is the perception that something is true if a subject's belief demands it to be true.  This can lead to perceived connections between coincidences. The overconfidence effect is excessive confidence to one's own answers to questions. Pessimism bias is somewhat the opposite.  The Ostrich effect is the tendency to ignore an obvious, negative effect.  Bias blind spot is the tendency to see oneself as less biased than other people or seeing more biases in others than in oneself.   Sometimes we imagine there is greater support for our position than there actually is (the false-consensus effect). The forer or barnum effect explains the belief that people have in astrological predictions as applying to themselves when they are written to apply to almost anyone.  The hot-hand fallacy applies to people who believe they are on a winning streak when there is no statistical significance in their gambling.  The illusion of control is the belief we can control external factors we have no control over.

Choice supportive bias is the tendency to see one's choices as better than they actually were.   Bayesian conservatism is the tendency to insufficiently revise one's beliefs when presented with new information. Backfire effect is when people react to disconfirming information by strengthening their beliefs.  Irrational escalation is the phenomenon where people justify increased investment in a decision based on an accumulation of prior investment, even if new evidence suggests the decision was probably wrong.  Loss aversion is a tendency to prefer avoiding losses to acquiring gains.  Post-purchase rationalisation is the tendency to rationalise a purchase as good value. Reactance is the urge to rebel against a perceived constraint of one's freedom to choose.  Reactive devaluation is the devaluing of proposals from someone we don't like.

Group Think
Call it group think, bandwagon effect, or herd mentality we all have a tendency to follow the crowd at times.

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