Your Decision-Making Is Probably Flawed, and Here Are 5 Biases You Might Have

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We all have choices to make every day. We choose what to eat, wear, and who to be friends with. Flaws in our decision-making system can have a profound effect on ourselves and others.

The problem is that many of us don’t work to identify anything that clouds our process. Even worse, we may not know how to change our decision-making processes even if we truly want to.

Here are some ways your biases affect how you make choices, and some ideas for how to change this.

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5. Confirmation Bias

Essentially this means we only give importance to information that confirms things we already believe in. This bias can be dangerous because it leads us to deceive ourselves. Let’s suppose you have low self-esteem, you may think people ignore you but in reality, they may be too shy to talk to you and may turn out to be nice.

4. Conservatism Bias

Not to be confused with a conservative political stance! This means you give importance to older evidence rather than newer findings. How does this work in real life? People used to believe the sun revolved around the Earth, and it took a good while for them to see the light.

3. Clustering Illusion Bias

Do you ever look at a cloud and see one shape? If you’re next to someone, they may see something totally different. Clustering illusion bias occurs when you see a pattern in things that are totally unrelated.

Marketers tend to prey on this bias to make sales. They’re aware that people have this bias and may then try to sell them a product that won’t solve their problems in any way.

2. Outcome Bias

Outcome bias happens when you focus only on the outcomes of something and don’t think about the processes the led to the result. Let’s suppose you invest money in the stock market without consulting with an expert and happen to earn money. You may have gotten your desired outcome, but you may not be so lucky next time unless you study the best way to make an investment.

1. Ostrich Effect

An ostrich is known to bury its head in the sand to avoid danger. The ostrich effect bias occurs when a person ignores negative or bad news to make it essentially “go away.” First off, this won’t help, and second of all, it could cause you to make bad decisions because you’ve ignored important warnings.

Have you ever caught yourself having one or more of these biases? You’re not alone in this. Feel free to share your experiences with these biases in the comments.