Cognitive Bias: There Is No Such Thing As An “Alternative Fact”
Heard enough about the CoronaVirus? Me too. But is what you’ve heard or read true? Or is it media hype? It’s quite the conundrum isn’t it? What to believe?
We live in an age where we know more than we ever knew before, but also are more confused than ever before.
That’s quite a paradox.
PR firm 5W Public Relations surveyed 737 U.S. beer drinkers and found that 38% of beer-drinking consumers would not buy Corona beer under any circumstances now—and 16% were confused about whether the beer is connected to the CoronaVirus outbreak.
Here’s another fun fact unrelated to the virus. Seven percent of Americans believe that chocolate milk comes from Brown cows. If you do that math, that’s about 16.4 million people.
My friend once got a parking ticket for leaving his car on the street in front of my home overnight. When he tried to challenge the ticket to the judge with the argument of “there were no signs posted saying he couldn’t do so”, the judge said to him, “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.”
He was forced to pay the ticket. Rules are rules. Laws are laws. Even if we don’t know they exist.
But is truth, truth? Or is it that only OUR truth is truth?
We can’t know everything, even though we might think we do. And because of that, we are ignorant of a lot of things.
So we either: A. Claim we didn’t know the rule so “how can we be culpable?” or B. We believe that we know everything.
Both lines of thinking are equally as dangerous when you think about it. Either just being ignorant, or truly believing we are not ignorant based upon our own truth.
But today let’s tackle the second point. The fact that people who are incompetent, actually belive they are competent.
This is called The Dunning-Kruger Effect, or as you may know it: Cognitive Bias
A cognitive bias is a systematic error in thinking that affects the decisions and judgments that people make. Some of these biases are related to memory. The way you remember an event may be biased for a number of reasons and that in turn can lead to biased thinking and decision-making.
In other words, believing you know something that you don’t.
Why do people feel like they’re experts when they’re not?
You now know the answer: cognitive biases.
Cognitive biases protect us from feeling unsafe. They are the truths that we create in our brains to make us feel better and smarter, which in turn makes us safer in our own little reality.
Ever met the social media troll who is an expert on global warming because they read a book on it? Or worse, they watched a Youtube video about it being false, so they KNOW all the facts? And they feel that they now know enough, and more, than scientists who have spent decades of their lives studying the facts?
Of course you have. You might have even done it. Shame, shame!
You see this every day, all day now on social media with the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re doing it...
Now, stop it!
It may make you feel better about yourself, but it’s ruining everything.
It’s ruining social media.
It’s ruining human conversation.
It’s ruining friendships and families.
It’s ruining common sense.
Yes, your truth is your truth. But NOT when it comes to facts.
The sky is blue. Fact.
It does not matter that your truth is that it’s red.
You’re wrong. So just admit it. Stop making yourself feel safe by making up your own truths.
Now here’s the most important rule.
If you see someone doing it, walk away. There is ZERO point in having an argument with someone who has already established the cognitive bias on the subject matter. If you can do this, you will stay sane, and happier.
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