Cognitive Bias

I want to discuss the problem of cognitive bias. That is, a bias that that the person is totally unaware of, but has a major (perhaps definitive) effect on the thought process and the inevitable conclusions. The bias is like a tilted floor, the process will always naturally go in a particular direction, and any other direction is unnatural, unrealistic, and mentally difficult to process. To try to eliminate this bias would require thought processes that would seem alien and unnatural, and would create a negative bias towards that approach. In other words, the bias is not only unconscious (the owner is not aware of it) but forms a belief system (a lens) that everything is analyzed through, even the presence of the bias. The bias would not seem like a bias, it would seem like a (or the only) logical way to look at information.

What this means is that bias cannot be overcome. Let’s make that fundamental assumption. What that means is that we cannot allow people with a bias to make decisions where their bias would influence the outcome. The bias would determine the result, no other result would be logical or even worthy of consideration (reasonable). I see this as a major problem. Bias exists in all of us. Therefore, it makes sense to allow decisions to be made only by people who do not have bias. But we all have biases. Let us assume (any other conclusion would be unworkable) that the bias only exists in certain areas of thought, and that other areas are free of bias. We need to allow decision making to only occur in those areas where the decision maker has no bias. This is particularly true where the decision maker has a large amount of influence and power.

My modest proposal is that we do not allow anyone with a cognitive bias to make any decision that could be influenced by that bias.

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