The human brain is known to have a huge capacity of processing and thinking that is unique to every other living organism in Earth. However, this article serves to show that our brain is also prone to make some fallacies, other than logical fallacies. There are 12 of theses fallacies, they are called, confirmation bias, ingroup bias, gambler’s fallacy, post-purchase rationalization, neglecting probability, status-quo bias, observational selection bias, negativity bias, bandwagon bias, projection bias, the current moment bias and anchoring effect. In the article each of these fallacies is explained making it possible for us to understand each and try to diminish the possibilities of making that fallacy. For the confirmation bias what happens is that we tend to live with people that confirm with us and ignore any other opinion being presented no matter how much logic that is to that claim. That is clearly showed in the internet where we tend to go on to websites that share the same ideas as we have, increasing the amount of confirmation bias. The next fallacy that was discussed in the article was the ingroup bias, where we do not want to break away from our group of friends. In the ingroup bias we tend to form positive bonds with those people that we are commonly around with and that we spend time together and form a negative connection with anyone outside from that group. This fallacy makes us grow closer to our group of friends and never grow out of that group or get to meet new people. The next fallacy is what makes us believe that as time goes by our luck will increase; however, logically, for example, flipping a coin and getting heads, is always the same probability. This is what commonly happens to gamblers that are continuously thinking that as time goes by their luck increases; therefore it is called gambler’s fallacy. The post-purchase rationalization is the fallacy in rationalization that makes a person believe that their purchase was needed for something even though it really isn’t. This fallacy normally occurs after an expensive purchase, with no reason. The fallacy in which we tend to think of things as how common they are instead of thinking logically, is called the neglecting probability. The article uses an example of neglecting probability as getting in a car and getting in an airplane. It is more common to find people that are afraid of flying a plane than using the car, because the use of cars is so common; however, if we think logically we are able to understand that the probability being in a car accident is much higher than that of an airplane. Another fallacy is called the observational selective bias, where we tend to think that something that is in our mind more commonly is happening more often in the world around us. The truth is that because our mind is focused on that thing in particular we tend to notice it more often when we see it around us, when it was there always before but we were never looking for it, so we wouldn’t notice it. The status-quo bias occurs because humans are afraid of change; therefore we are always running from changes, even the simplest ones because of this. The theory that in these days the violence has increased is actually based on the negativity bias. This is because our minds focus more and are more on the negative information rather than on positive information and for that reason the negative information has been exposed the most. The bandwagon effect happens unconsciously since we tend to go with the flow and be accepted by the group. This effect makes us to cheer for a team for example even though we don’t really cheer for them, basically because the crowd is doing so. The projection bias is that we make what we are as a rule for all of everyone around us, because we are trapped in our minds we are unable to understand the ideas that are in the minds of other people. The second to last fallacy is the current moment bias, this is what proves that people are more worried about their well being in the present moment and tend to forget the long terms results. The example used in the text was that when asked if one preferred to eat an apple or chocolate and most people chose for that moment chocolate, but for the long term an apple. The last fallacy is called the anchoring effect and it shows that instead of comparing things to a whole, we tend to compare things to a limited amount of things. An example of this is that when buying something we tend to buy things that are the middle price compared to other things that are being exposed, even though the lowest priced thing is actually high if we were to compare that to the whole of things we can buy. This article is very interesting because it makes us realize when we make those fallacies ourselves and tend to make us try to prevent our brains to getting to those conclusions by being aware of them.
The article first differentiates logical fallacy from cognitive biases. Logical fallacies are errors in logical argumentation. A cognitivive bias is a genuine deficiency or limitation in our thinking. It is believed that cognitive biases help us process information more efficiently, even though they make us make mistakes. There are twelve types of biases. The first is, “confirmation bias”. This type suggests that we love to agree with people who agree with us, which is essentially why we only hang around people who share our opinions, go on sites that are related to our opinions, etc. this is a preferential mode that is often unconscious. The in-group bias is ultimately to overestimate the abilities and value of our immediate group at the expense of people we don’t really know. The gamblers fallacy is when we put a lot of weight on previous events believing that they will influence the future. The post-purchase rationalization is when you purchase something you do not need, but convince yourself it is necessary to avoid a state of cognitive dissonance. The neglecting probability is our inabilities to grasp a proper sense of risk, making us overstate the risks of relatively harmless activities, forcing us to overrate more dangerous ones. Observational selection bias is the effect of suddenly noticing things we didn’t notice that much before, but assuming the frequency simply increased. The status-quo bias is when we tend to be apprehensive of change, which leads us to make choices that guarantee that things remain the same or change as little as possible. The negativity bias is the effect of paying more attention to bad news, as they are believed to be more important and thus receive more credibility. The bandwagon effect is when we go with the flow of the crowd. Hence, if everyone’s start deciding something, our brain will begin to groupthink and agree with their choice. The projection bias is when we are under the impression that everyone thinks and agrees with us simply because we are stuck in our own minds for too long. The current moment bias is when we have a hard time imagining ourselves in the future and altering our behaviours and expectations accordingly. Most of us would rather leave the pain for later, hence experiencing pleasure in the current moment. The anchoring, final, effect is known as the relativity trap because it is the tendency to compare and contrast a limited set of items. Many of these biases are extremely common and I can think of people who have these traits.
The article about the biases that cause us to act irrationally is very interesting because it clarifies and exposes to us things that we consciously know but we never reflect or give much thought into. The biases itself are very interesting. The author exposes how daily actions are actually biased actions because our brain some way does not process all the information that we hear so that we end up accepting some statements which are not actually true. For example, the author explains the confirmation bias, which is the tendency that we humans have to agree with people who agree with us. I had never thought about this, but it is something that makes a lot of sense because we tend to create bonds with people who share the same opinions as we do and this gives us the impression of creating friendship or a positive relationship. Thus we tend to agree with them in some aspects which we might have not agreed if another person proposed them, because we instinctively tend to understand these opinions as the ones we would have due to the fact that this person might have agreed with me at some point regarding a certain subject. Something that is associated with the confirmation bias and is the Ingroup bias. The ingroup bias states that people who live in the same community and share certain cultural characteristics tend to have the same opinion as the members of the group because they share a common origin. Consequently, we tend to see the actions of people that are not from our group as harmful or undesirable as we associate the difference between something that we should not follow because the group where I belong does not follow. The one that I found most interesting was the bias about the gambler’s fallacy. For example, if you toss a coin five times and in all five times is tails, the person tends to think that the next time it will be heads. Unconsciously we do think that because we do not analyze that even though it might have been tails all five times, the probability to fall heads or tails is still 50 percent. Consequently, if a person gets on a number playing Russian roulette and gets it right, she will think that is unlikely that it will be the same number again, even though the probability is still the same. I found this biases very interesting because they show how our brain works based things that usually occur and most of the times we do not stop to think that if we do is actually true and sincere , or if it makes sense, because we accept our tendencies as something positive.
The article starts by introducing a new concept which is often confused to mean the same as logical fallacies, but which actually represents an opposing idea. Even though both are related to brain activity, cognitive biases are, more specifically, errors made in the processing of information mostly subconsciously, while logical fallacies are usually used consciously specially in the intent of persuading another person. There are 12 of these fallacies, they are called, confirmation bias, ingroup bias, gambler’s fallacy, post-purchase rationalization, neglecting probability, status-quo bias, observational selection bias, negativity bias, bandwagon bias, projection bias, the current moment bias and anchoring effect. The confirmation bias generally suggests that we accept as the ultimate truth anything that is presented to us by people who we live with or with whom we have a close association and relationship. I personally believe this concept can be applied to my life, since I hardly doubt anything that is told to me by a close friend or a relative, which also ends up being the cause of being so disappointed sometimes, for when people for whom we set such high expectations upon disappoint us, it ends up being the disappointment that hurts the most. The other fallacies, again, generally point out subconscious behaviors that are performed by the human brain including the preference to negative events than positive ones and the personal persuasion that what we bought was worth it after it has already been bought, although it can actually happen that we bought an unnecessary or invaluable item. Again, this is one that can be applied to my life extensively, since I would say that 50% of what I buy I try to convince myself that it was actually necessary and useful, finally realizing after 2 or 4 days that buying that item was a really stupid attitude. These biases have historically characterized human behavior. Nonetheless, they are inevitably part of our lives even though we try as hard as we can to avoid them. Again, we are only human.
This article essentially explains the reasoning for some of our very weird actions. Usually people tend to say that they are very unbiased in many different situations, and that they except people with obtruding differences, however, in this article, it is proved that even the most un-biased people, essentially have their own biases. One counterpoint to people, who claim they are not always biased, is by looking at their friend group. It can be concluded from this article that by looking at someone’s friend group you are likely to see traits they themselves have whether they be big or small. This concludes that people often hang out with those that they deem to be somewhat similar to them. Proving a prevailing bias that some tend to favor others over people that have clear differences with their points of view. Another important aspect that I found interesting is that fact about gamblers bias. I can’t tell you how many times I have been afraid to do something because I have had some relegated fear about occurrences from the past. In the end the odds will be the same as they always are, but we tend to put more emotion into the past events somehow influencing probability which is somewhat odd. The neglecting probability bias is another aspect I found interesting. I often find that I tend to overestimate certain situations. A lot of the things I fear are highly outweighed in probability to things that I am comfortable doing. For example, I have always had the eagerness to drive a car, but I have always maintained a constant fear of airplanes. Statistically speaking the airplane is much safer than the car ride, but I think it is the ability to have the situation under ones control that affects fear as well. In an airplane you would be unable to the fly the plane was anything to go wrong. However, in a car, you are the one controlling the events (unless someone hits you) and even then if something were to happen you could have had some effect the prevention of death. The bandwagon bias is something that completely related to my situation right now. My friend from the United States and I are all into professional basketball (NBA). Now the playoffs have started and this year has been quite a wacky year in terms of team changes. The Miami Heat, a team that everyone previously disregarded, have suddenly picked up Leron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh, respective all stars from other teams. With this pick up they were able to win the championship in the last season gaining each of them their first ring, something everyone thought impossible. Still, people believed they would not do well this season, however with the start of their 27 win streak, it seemed that all of my friends had become Heat Fans. This presents the principle of the bandwagon effect on how the masses tend to follow the favorable situations. Hopefully, for my sake, the Lakers can start winning again, then I will be the only non-bandwagoner out there.
Our brain is more powerful than any computer on Earth, yet it also makes mistakes too. These mistakes can be referred to as cognitive bias. They account for misjudgments or mistakes we make that we aren’t consciously aware of. Ingroup Bias, one of the cognitive biases discussed in the article, says that we are more inclined to like and be friendly with people who are from our same “group”. This may include race or people with the same beliefs. However, we also tend to be more suspicious and fearful of those people who are not in our “group” or have our tribalistic tendencies. If we were able to get rid of ingroup bias it could result in less prejudice between different races and religions. For example, in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, Israeli and Palestinians are predisposed to not like each other or face difficulties when trying to work together. If there was no ingroup bias then would the Israeli/Palestinian conflict somehow dissipate? I know the issue is more complicated than that, but just imagine the possible effects of something like that if we were to become completely in touch with our subconscious. If we were able to understand and control our cognitive bias, imagine the effects. We might be able to act as a human race in such a better relationship with other people because we would truly be able to understand them. Our prejudice would be gone and our bias eliminated which would pave the way for more healthy relationships between the human species. Another cognitive bias I found surprisingly interesting was Neglecting Probability. It states that our brains are predisposed to thinking that less harmful activities are more harmful than they actually are and vice versa. We are naturally scared of terrorist attacks and plane crashes when we have a higher chance of dying in a car crash or falling down the stairs. However, I think this bias is necessary to our daily life because if we lived in fear of daily activities such as falling down the stairs, our lives would be so much more stressful. This cognitive bias may actually be beneficial to us as human beings because it keeps our fear under control. One last bias is the Negativity Bias. It states that we as humans consider bad news to be significantly more important than good news. As a result, our news channels continually broadcast more bad news than good news. It is rare to see good news on CNN or NBC news. Their websites could probably be renamed from “news” to “bad daily happenings”. These bad things are consistently blown up out of proportion and we forget to think about the good things that happen in our world that may be a bigger story and effect more people. Becoming aware of these cognitive biases is very important and it would be amazing to consider how our lives could be changed if we become aware of our conscious. We would think in completely different ways, and we could honestly say that we live “without bias”.
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