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A Small Sample of Natural Biases

Updated on December 14, 2017

Bias is Just Another Form of Perception

When you walk down a busy street or in a shopping mall, you encounter different types of people. Some may be professionals on their way to or from work; while others might appear to be dressed in attire that tells you that they are prepared for a sporting event. Even though your fellow pedestrians are complete strangers to you, and you only saw them for a few brief moments, you made a conscious decision that the woman in the grey skirt had an office in the building next to the courthouse and that the balding man in the plain T-shirt and sweat-pants, spends his mornings moving a leaf blower around in suburban yards.


Biases is a Natural Response

Understanding someone else's frame of mine - or your own for that matter - may help make sense of the world, when situations arise. We live in very confusing times today and it seems we live in a world where walking on eggshells is a dress code requirement for even casual attire.

By trying to make sense out of why you might be making certain conclusions about your fellow human or vice versa, we may be able to make the daily journey to the corner store a little more comfortable. Maybe, we can even create a better world.


Consistency Bias

Consistency bias is the feeling that you've always had the same thoughts or feelings about a given topic over time, even though you may have felt differently previously. For example, you may currently believe that it is proper etiquette to eat dinner at the table, rather than in front of the television, even though you may have chosen to eat on the couch before.

It's a natural response to believe that you've always felt the same way about a given topic or behavior. The subject at hand could be something habitual or be relevant to a more serious topic such as capital punishment. Someone who advocates the death penalty, may be reluctant to recall that they were once in opposition to executions.

The human mind likes to believe it is consistent in the way it thinks and processes information, when often instabilities can be quite frequent.

Change Bias

Change bias is the belief that you have changed your behavior or thinking more than you actually have. For example, if someone is engaged in a time management program, they may be under the impression that they have improved in their efforts to budget their time more effectively than they have. The mind likes to exaggerate and believe it has succeeded more than it actually has.

This can also work in the other direction in the fact that someone may be under the impression that their problem with managing their time is more serious than it actually is. If you apply this concept to other examples: dietary habits, anger or hostility, or just perceptions of you neighbors intentions, you can see how your mind can confuse you.

Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive dissonance is the state of mind where one realizes that the practices behaviors are incongruent with the stated beliefs. This is an example that is similar to hypocrisy. but describes the mental state when the awareness of the inconsistency between one's actions and philosophies is realized.

For example, someone may eating foods of a certain caloric content is unhealthy, but when they are informed that they are consuming dishes with high calories , they may be in a state of denial or confusion. This doesn't mean that the person is wrong in their behavior. The cognitive dissonance is that state of mind where one recognizes that their practices are incompatible with their stated beliefs.

Often people engage in behaviors that might be contrary to an ethical standard they have. It's something that is rather common. Awareness is certainly more healthy when dealing with your fellow man and perceiving them as hypocrisies or pointing them out publicly is not recommended.


An Explanation of Cognitive Dissonance

Hostile attribution bias

Hostile attribution bias is when the observer believes that there is malicious intent behind someone else's actions even when the behavior demonstrated is neutral. This can be interpreted as behavior between two other people or directed towards the one who observes.

For example, someone might be passing another on the street and see the person snickering. The one who has the hostile attribution bias will believe that the person is laughing at them even though there might be something else going on entirely that has nothing to do with the observer.

In addition, one may see two people talking across the way and see some animated body language. A misconception might be that the two people are arguing about something.

Consequently, the inverse of that is true in that someone may see your smile or your silence as being derisive or disrespectful.

Be cautious

Everyone Has a Point of View

Well, I tried to cover a few of the basic biases that affect our consciousness. I did so superficially in the hopes that some of these would pique your interest. I am hoping maybe some awareness will make you a little more comfortable as well, especially in a world that seems to becoming more hostile every day.

There are people out there who believe the world owes them something and I want to say that we all come into this planet the same way. Everyone has something about them that hinders their ability to be completely comfortable and we all have our own unique gifts that make our life easier sometimes.

But understanding the fact that the mind has certain responses and that those reactions are natural, may help you a little bit out in second guessing your fellow citizens on the planet. It may help you get by a little more when you have to deal with their energies as well.

what is it with out world today?

Is our society more hostile than it was previously? Even twenty years ago?

See results

© 2017 Finn Liam Cooper

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    • wpcooper profile imageAUTHOR

      Finn Liam Cooper 

      7 months ago from Los Angeles

      thanks ....a very quick overview but I think it helps to have these reinforced when dealing with our larger society

    • profile image

      Gilbert O'Sughrue 

      7 months ago from Auckland, New Zealand

      I need reminding of these behaviours in myself and others from time to time. Thank you.

    • wpcooper profile imageAUTHOR

      Finn Liam Cooper 

      7 months ago from Los Angeles

      thanks...it is superficial....and i want to expand on a couple, but needed some practice writing.

    • Penny Sebring profile image

      Penny Sebring 

      7 months ago from Fort Collins

      Nice summary and clear explanation of some of the most common biases.

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