Published By: Jayati

Cognitive biases uncovered: 4 ways your brain can trick you!

Succumbing to these cognitive pitfalls can have lasting and widespread consequences, even if we don't recognise them at the initial encounter!

The human brain is truly remarkable for its multifaceted abilities. It serves as the guiding force behind our decision-making, aids us in critical thinking, and stands as the maestro orchestrating the harmonious functioning of our entire body. However, in its complexity, the brain also has moments where it may lead us down paths that don't align with broader notions of correctness. Today, let's embark on an intriguing journey into the world of cognitive biases, illuminating how our brain can subtly coax us into actions we might not consciously choose if given a chance!

Anchoring Bias

The anchoring bias is a fascinating phenomenon where we tend to heavily rely on the initial piece of information, known as the 'anchor,' that we receive. This anchor has the power to sway our decisions and significantly impact subsequent choices, even if they're completely unrelated to the current decision. What's intriguing is that anchoring bias can lead us to make biassed decisions based on this initial one-sided information without making an effort to explore alternative perspectives or additional information! To overcome this bias, it's crucial to cross-check the initial information we receive and remain open to diverse perspectives and multiple facets of the anchor information.

Confirmation Bias

Confirmation bias is a rather intriguing phenomenon. It leads us to place trust in and lean heavily upon information that simply reinforces our preexisting beliefs. It's as if our brains have a tendency to reject ideas, thoughts, or perspectives that are new, divergent, or challenge what we already think we know. The peril of confirmation bias lies in its ability to trap us in a narrow worldview, one that's cosy and adheres to socially ingrained notions. To combat this bias effectively, it's imperative to cultivate an open-minded perspective, actively seek out diverse viewpoints, and remain receptive to considering and accepting them. This is the key to dismantling the echo chamber that confirmation bias can create.

Overconfidence Bias

Overconfidence bias is an interesting quirk of human psychology. It's the tendency for us to perceive ourselves as more capable than we truly are or can realistically deliver. This bias can cast a rosy but deceptive glow on our self-image, causing us to overestimate our skills and subsequently make decisions based on these inflated beliefs. Unfortunately, this can lead to significant errors in our decision-making process, potentially causing issues on a broader scale. Furthermore, overconfidence bias can hinder personal growth by making us believe we've already reached the peak of our abilities, leaving minimal room for improvement. To combat this bias effectively, it's essential to seek external feedback and perspectives from others to verify the accuracy of our self-perception. 

Loss Aversion

In the grip of the loss aversion bias, we tend to become excessively cautious, going to great lengths to avoid any risks that might lead to losses. This bias skews our sense of balance between potential gains and losses, causing our brains to fixate on guarding against losses, even when the odds are in our favour and the potential gains far outweigh the possible losses. To conquer the clutches of the loss aversion bias, it's crucial to gain a clear perspective on the long-term benefits of a situation and focus on that rather than being overly concerned about immediate losses. A careful assessment of the circumstances and an evaluation of the advantages in the long run can guide us in making more sound decisions, free from the influence of loss aversion.