What is a Cognitive Bias?
A cognitive bias is a tendency to make repeated and similar mistakes in thinking. Unlike random errors, which have no pattern, these mistakes are systematically wrong in one direction. They usually arise from simple rules of thumb, or heuristics, which the mind uses to help it perform a task more easily.
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Cognitive biases should not be confused with unconscious biases or even conscious ones. One way of putting cognitive biases into context is to explore the links between personality and behaviour.
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Cognitive biases allow for fast decisions with the least mental effort. They can be useful when making an immediate, tactical decisions, that are almost invariably a hindrance when making strategic decisions. Why?
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There are nearly 150 recognised cognitive biases. The original approach to measuring them in individuals involved 8 weeks of observation over a prolonged series of simulations.
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Awareness of cognitive biases is the first step. The next step is to have concrete tools to reduce the effects of these biases on our thinking.
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By far the best way to help a senior leadership team understanding and mitigate their biases is through off-site workshops conducted by qualified CBT facilitators.
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The following are useful links when researching biases.
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One of the iron rules of cognitive bias mitigation is: read more than one book.
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Our most frequently asked questions – from ‘How much?’ to ‘Where?’
An alternative perspective? Read the latest entries on our blog…
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