Problem Solving and Human Bias.

 

When faced with a problem or issue people are more than likely due to influences, education, racial backgrounds and upbringing/parental bias that more often than not even when faced with overwhelming evidence to the contrary they tend to go with what works for them, or what makes the most sense, to paraphrase John Green “Saying, that makes sense = that conforms to my biases”

 

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Pictured: Humans.

 

Humans are subject to multiple types of bias [Heres a list of them, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases%5D, I’ll go over some common types and their examples then answer the questions supplied.

Curse of Knowledge
“When better-informed people find it extremely difficult to think about problems from the perspective of lesser-informed people”
The term Ignorance is Bliss applies well here, if somebody feels superior in intellect or status, they will just flat out ignore what somebody who is ‘lesser’ to them, even if said person may have relative opinions or ways to solve an issue they are just dismissed.

Anchoring or Focalism
The tendency to rely too heavily, or “anchor”, on one trait or piece of information when making decisions (usually the first piece of information that we acquire on that subject)”

This is very common and more often a not a result of a bad experience/s, or upbringing. An example of this is after working at KFC for a couple of months I will never eat their chicken again due to how the staff at my location handled it.

Even if a KFC store has flawless food safety all I’ll see is how disgusting the back was and how little the staff at my store cared. [fun fact: after handling money or any utensil outside of your current workstation in a high turnover kitchen, you should wash your hands in order to prevent cross contamination. I was the only person who regularly did and actually got a warning from the manager for ‘wasting time’]’

This also can come from upbringing, imagine you were raised in a house that was mad for sports, and your father was always going on about x team. As an adult you’ll likely grow to resent said team, but not actually know why.

But you do.

Seriously screw that team.

Backfire Effect

“When people react to disconfirming evidence by strengthening their beliefs”

oo-ee, time for another controversial issue, this is very common in religion, imagine if you were raised and always surrounded by the concepts of new earth creationism. Ala the earth is only 6k years old and the entire cosmos was created in 6 days. And then somebody comes along and provides you with referenced and factually true information to the contrary. The person is faced with a conundrum. Either everything they have been told and raised upon is a lie. Or obviously the person who is talking to them is a liar. More often that not its much easier to just reject the opposition and strengthen your own belief systems.

And just a fun one I saw.

IKEA Effect

The tendency for people to place a disproportionately high value on objects that they partially assembled themselves, such as furniture from IKEA, regardless of the quality of the end result.”

This is an interesting concept that I’ve never really thought about till now, but its defiantly true. I value my computer far more than a similar one that was pre built, even though arguably the specs on it could be exactly the same, mine is better because I built it.

 

 

Define one of your own personal biases

I’m regularly subject to confirmation bias, I’ll often look at a social issue, talking point, subject and approach any information about the subject generally from the same POV, for an example the recent Refugee crisis Europe I’ll first look at right wing websites because from previous experience of them they have proven to be the most reliable and truthful sources that avoid bias to their feelings.

But an issue with this is that the other side in an argument can often have valuable input but somebody will look at the only thing that supports their own POV, this behavior can have serious implications.

Take another controversial topic in the campaign of Donald Trump, there are many people who have been interviewed protesting his rallies, yet not actually know why they are, most just giving canned responses of racism and sexism [often being unable to give examples of why] because the only place they look for information are bias against the topic.

Are you detail oriented person, or a big picture oriented person? Explain why you think this is the case.

I’m a detail oriented person, if I look at an assignment or issue I have to break it into separate parts to have any possibility of doing it at all.

Whilst for some things this can be helpful, and irritating for others. Something I’ll go over in the next question

Write briefly about how the above interfered with your problem solving in the past.

I’m trained and used to work as a chef, and whilst I love cooking and can well when given a single dish to cook at a time, but if I’m given multiple things to manage at once I can’t handle it. So most of the time I’d look for line work or singular focused work like cold/saucier etc.

 

Biases are an intrinsic part of the human experience and I doubt we will ever be apart from them, and maybe that’s a good thing. Each of our individual biases make up who we are and without them what are we but mindless automatons of the lab grown and conditioned people in Aldous Huxley’s book Brave New World

“The students observe a Bokanovsky group of eight-month-old babies wearing the Delta caste’s khaki-colored clothes. Some nurses present the babies with books and flowers. As the babies crawl toward the books and the flowers, cooing with pleasure, alarms ring shrilly. Then, the babies suffer a mild electric shock. Afterward, when the nurses offer the flowers and books to the babies, they shrink away and wail with terror.

The Director explains that after 200 repetitions of the same process, the children will have an instinctive hatred of books and flowers. A hatred for books is ingrained in the lower castes to prevent them from wasting the community’s time reading books that might “decondition” them” – http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/bravenew/section2.rhtml

 

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