Cognitive Biases Most People Are Unaware Of
Appearances Can Deceive You!
“Each of your brains creates its own myth about the universe.” — Abhijit Naskar
Things are not what they seem. Appearances can deceive you, and our perception is flawed. We shouldn’t judge a book by its cover or anything else. We should always try to see things for what they are and not be fooled by appearances.
The Kiss of Life
This picture, taken in 1967 by Rocco Morabito and known as “The Kiss of Life,” depicts a utility employee named J.D. Thompson performing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on coworker Randall G. Champion after he passed out due to contact with a low voltage wire.
His partner, Edward “Champion” Johnson, was trimming the tree line when one of the low-voltage wires sparked at the top of a utility pole. His safety harness prevented him from plummeting to the ground, and Thompson, climbing up behind him, reached him and performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation immediately.
You might perceive this photograph to mean something entirely different if you don’t know its circumstances. It could be seen as two men in a passionate embrace. But the true story is much more heartwarming. It’s a story of companionship, courage, and quick thinking in the face of danger.
This photograph is an excellent example of why we shouldn’t judge things by their appearance. Things are often not what they seem.
The False-Consensus Effect
People assume that others share their views and beliefs, even with no evidence to support this. In the “Kiss of Life” case, people may see the photo and believe that the two men are romantically involved without knowing the actual story.
This bias causes us to think that everyone else sees and interprets things the way we do. In other words, we assume that everyone else has the same knowledge, experiences, and perspectives that we do.
The false-consensus effect can lead us to make inaccurate assumptions about others. For example, let’s say you see a couple arguing in public. You might assume they’re having a terrible time, and their relationship is on the rocks. But you don’t know what their relationship is like. They could be arguing about something minor or have a very passionate relationship, which is how they express themselves.
We See What We Want to See
Our perception is flawed. We may see things that are not there, or we may not see things that are there. When we judge things by their appearance, we may be missing out on their true beauty.
For example, when we are physically attracted to a person, we may think that they are also kind, intelligent, and funny. But looks can be deceiving. The person may be mean, lazy, and dull. It’s important not to judge people by their appearance because you never know what someone is like until you know them.
The Dunning-Kruger Effect
The Dunning-Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which people who are not knowledgeable about a topic believe that they are more knowledgeable than they are.
This happens because they lack the knowledge to know how much they don’t know.
This bias is named after the two psychologists who first proposed it, David Dunning and Justin Kruger.
The Dunning-Kruger effect can lead people to make poor decisions because they believe they know more.
The Hollow Mask Illusion
The hollow mask illusion is an optical illusion in which a concave mask appears to be convex.
This illusion is created by the way our brains process Depth cues.
There are two types of depth cues: monocular and binocular.
Monocular depth cues are clues that we use with one eye, such as linear perspective and texture gradient.
Binocular depth cues are clues that we use with two eyes, such as convergence and stereopsis.
The brain uses both monocular and binocular depth cues to perceive depth.
However, the brain gives more weight to binocular cues than monocular cues.
This is why the hollow mask illusion works. The brain perceives the concave mask as convex because it gets more binocular cues than monocular cues.
The hollow mask illusion is an excellent example of how our brain can trick us into seeing things not there.
What is Priming and How to Prevent Unconscious Biasing
Priming is a phenomenon in which exposure to one stimulus affects the response to another stimulus.
For example, if you are exposed to the word “white,” you are more likely to associate the word “good” with it.
If you are exposed to the word “black,” you are more likely to associate the word “bad” with it.
Our brain makes these associations based on our past experiences.
Priming can lead to unconscious bias because we may not be aware that we are making these associations.
To prevent unconscious bias, we need to be aware of priming and make a conscious effort to avoid it.
The Spotlight Effect
The spotlight effect is a cognitive bias in which people believe they are the center of attention.
This happens because we tend to overestimate how much other people notice us.
For example, if you make a mistake in front of others, you may think everyone looks at you and judges you.
But in reality, most people didn’t even notice.
The spotlight effect can lead to anxiety and self-consciousness.
It’s essential to be aware of this cognitive bias to avoid feeling anxious or self-conscious.
The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon
The Baader-Meinhof phenomenon is a psychological phenomenon in which the thing you learned about suddenly becomes ubiquitous.
For example, if you learn about the word “blue,” you will start seeing the color blue everywhere.
This phenomenon is named after the German terrorist group that became active in the 1970s.
The Baader-Meinhof phenomenon occurs because our brains are constantly searching for patterns.
When we learn something new, our brains latch onto it and try to find other examples of it.
This can lead us to see things that are not there.
The best way to deal with the Baader-Mein hof phenomenon is to be aware of it and not let it influence your decisions.
These are a few examples of how our brain can trick us. It’s essential to be aware of these cognitive biases to avoid making the same mistakes.
Thank you for reading! I hope this was informative and helpful. :)
This article first appeared on Medium.com.