Answered By: Priscilla Coulter Last Updated: May 23, 2017 Views: 17
Like it or not, we all have "blind spots" in our brains that influence our beliefs, opinions and decisions. These blind spots are called cognitive biases -- unconscious biases that make us more or less likely to accept new ideas or information.
Your own biases are influenced by your culture and experiences, and (most likely) you are unaware of most of them. The infographic at the bottom of this page (from Business Insider) illustrates a number of common biases. As you scan them, it's easy to see how they can interfere with your ability to make objective, rational decisions.
Why does it matter?
- When you are a college student, you must be open to new ideas and information if you are to learn anything from your courses.
- You will often be working on research assignments. Your grade on each project will depend upon your ability to do thorough, objective, critical research on your topic. If you give in to anchoring bias or confirmation bias, for example, your research will be one-sided and shallow. Or, you may unwittingly fall prey to fake news or pseudoscience.
So, what can you do? It helps to identify the biases that you may be unconsciously harboring, so that you can avoid their influence as you research and write for your classes. These resources may help:
How Good Are You At Detecting Bias? (PBS: video and interactive quiz)
Cognition: How Your Mind Can Amaze and Betray You (Crash Course Pyschology: video)
Cognitive Biases (Wireless Philosophy: videos)
- How can I check for bias in the books, articles or web pages that I'm reading?
- I need to find opposing viewpoints on a controversial issue. Do you have any tips?
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