Cognitive Bias

Cognitive Bias

From French and Provencal biais, “oblique or oblique line”

Biases are cognitive and relational distortions that we may incorporate in our reasoning and in our relationship with others.
In conditions of uncertainty, for example, we call exclusively on intuition or rational thinking, but we rely on mental strategies that are a synthesis of both, unconsciously believing we can solve the defects of both models in one fell swoop.

If leveraging biases allows us to simplify reality and therefore to make a snap decision without wasting energy, on the other hand, precisely because they are shortcuts and constructs not based on critical judgments, they turn out to be mental traps.

Biases are systematic mistakes, that is, they come about according to the features of our mental processes and the context in which they occur.
They are the product of a complex mental mechanism, of an automated and unconscious flow of thought that influences our judgements and decisions. For this reason, we are often convinced that we have done well, and we are surprised when the decision turns out to be wrong.

We can fall into these mental traps both when we use slow and reflexive thinking (system 2) because it requires a lot of mental energy, attention capacity and a lot of information; and when we use instinctive and emotional reasoning (system 1) because it is thinking that requires little effort, is insensitive to the quality and quantity of information and it is based on short-term memory and emotions.

One of the biases we try to counter with our courses is risk aversion.
Everyone, regardless of the role we play in life, feels – some more, some less – aversion for defeat. We much prefer to avoid fiascos, so we steer away from making risky decisions, preferring certainty and taking refuge in a comfort zone.
Risk aversion is considered a cognitive bias, therefore an error, but also a distinctive human trait; if we were not afraid of losing something and dying, it is likely the human race would have already become extinct millions of years ago.
But everything needs to be calibrated. And if, on the one hand, an excessive inclination towards risk is a cognitive limit, because it blinds us to the evidence, on the other hand, an excessive aversion also constitutes a damper on our freedom of expression and choice, limiting us because it forces us to adopt a short-sighted attitude with respect to reality.

Recognising cognitive and behavioural style, identifying the most frequent errors to which we are most prone, allows us to better understand the organisation and to activate correction mechanisms through a debiasing process.