Become Aware of Your Cognitive Biases


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We’ve explored the fallibility of human perception, given the influence of environment, contexts, social relationships, incidental stimuli, stereotypes, and heuristics on this blog before (see especially, How Can We Mitigate the Errors in Our Minds?).

Anyone who pays heed to education reform debates will be witness to—and perpetrator of—any number of biases. Lifehacker shared a great graphic from Business Insider‘s Samantha Lee and Shana Lebowitz that outlines some possible cognitive biases.

Screenshot from 2015-09-20 12:54:39

Such biases are also important to consider in our classrooms and schools. Stereotyping bears a well-studied impact on the behavior and performance of students, but what about the impact of these other cognitive biases? How many of these might arise during a team meeting or in classroom interactions? I can think of any number of “data inquiry” meetings where these biases have been on full display.

Another great resource I’d like to point you to is ClearerThinking.org. The site has freely available quizzes and lessons that will help you to understand the fallibility in your own thinking and become more aware of your biases. I especially like their tool on the Probabilistic Fallacy.

I’ll leave you with an interesting TED Talk (conducted at Burning Man, no less) from the founder of ClearerThinking.org, Spencer Greenberg, on how you can use “probabilistic thinking” to overcome what he terms “dichotomous thinking”:

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