The Rational Future Institute

Confronting Cognitive Bias

A few examples

Here are a few examples of cognitive bias that provide a clue to the costs of irrational thinking.

Do You Suffer From Decision Fatigue?
New York Times

Should the outcome of a parole hearing depend on the time of day when the hearing was held? In theory, the time of the hearing should be irrelevant. In practice, our ability to consciously weigh the facts and make a decision is not much different than our physical endurance. It is finite and limited, and can even be affected by blood glucose levels. These limitations can be found everywhere in society, from consumer decisions to dieting, from military tactics to personal relationships.

This fascinating article shows just how predictable (and, in some cases, avoidable) our failures are.

The Fundamental Attribution Error: It's the Situation, Not the Person
Fast Company

"Amanda was a great manager with a situation problem—she needed to eliminate the distraction. What looks like a people problem is often a situation problem. How can you make your people better at work by changing their environment?"

Raytheon gets $10.5M to develop "serious games"
US intelligence group wants games that eliminate bias, improve decision-making
Network World

"These aren't your basic video gaming systems here. The US government gave Raytheon BBN Technologies a $10.5 million today to develop what it called 'serious games' that result in better decision-making by teaching players to recognize and diminish the effects of their own biases when analyzing information used to make decisions."

How Friends Ruin Memory: The Social Conformity Effect  

"Unbeknownst to the subjects, the lifeline was actually composed of false answers to the very questions that the subjects had previously answered correctly and confidently. Remarkably, this false feedback altered the responses of the participants, leading nearly 70 percent to conform to the group and give an incorrect answer. They had revised their stories in light of the social pressure. "

Copyright 2011 Rational Future Institute NFP