I’ve spent many years referencing Wikipedia’s list of cognitive biases whenever I have a hunch that a certain type of thinking is an official bias but I can’t recall the name or details. It’s been an invaluable reference for helping me identify the hidden flaws in my own thinking. Nothing else I’ve come across seems to be both as comprehensive and as succinct…
I’ve taken some time over the last four weeks (I’m on paternity leave) to try to more deeply absorb and understand this list, and to try to come up with a simpler, clearer organizing structure to hang these biases off of. Reading deeply about various biases has given my brain something to chew on while I bounce little Louie to sleep.
Buster Benson, a platform product lead at SlackHQ, provides an interesting breakdown of cognitive biases in our thinking and why we use them. In short, cognitive biases are shortcuts that help us address problems and discern meaning from information and events. Many people are familiar with confirmation bias (favoring information that confirms your pre-existing belief and rejecting information that does not), but there are a long list of cognitive biases that influence how we perceive the world.
Cognitive biases gets a bad rap, but they are not inherently bad. Cognitive biases help us make sense of the world around us. Problem is, the world does not always comply with our sense-making efforts, and sometimes we are just dead wrong. Even auditors need to be aware of the biases they might employ to help make sense of the world.
Read more here, and check out the handy cognitive bias map below.
Are there any biases that you are particularly fond of (or, dare we say it, guilty of overusing)? Not sure? Check out the whole list here.