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Peter Baumann's Cognitive Bias Talk Reframes Our Perceptions

By: Vasiliki Marapas - Jun 19, 2014
References: youtube
Peter Baumann's cognitive bias talk identifies our predilections as the most "interesting phenomenon in evolution." According to Baumann, there is nothing that is not a bias. We are biased to prefer certain temperatures, food and living conditions, and overall, biases are essential guides that inform our lives.

Unfortunately, biases are often cast under a negative light. Baumann does not suggest that we do away with biases -- such as the negativity, confirmation and uniqueness bias -- but that we learn to recognize them. Though they do have the ability to be self-deceptive, biases are crucial to our prolonged survival. For example, the uniqueness bias refers to the brain's ability to think of ourselves as valuable and special; without it, it would be very difficult to navigate the disheartening struggles of life. The uniqueness bias is created because we have far more detailed information about ourselves, our personal history and capacities; it is only natural that we take up more space in our own internal universe. Baumann also goes on to discuss one of our most pronounced tendencies, the confirmation bias. This, too, is essential, because it allows us to piece together a coherent world; without it, we would undoubtedly be lost.

The value in detecting our biases comes from recognizing that our perceptions are twisted by them. Becoming aware will allow us to broaden our perspectives and recognize that the world looks different to different people.