Cognitive Biases and Handedness

One of the mantras of the scientific skeptic is that we need formal logic and scientific methods in order to overcome our cognitive biases. Without a structure to observation and thinking, our biases would overwhelm our conclusions.

This is true not just in the scholarly study of the universe, but in our everyday lives. The more we are aware of the common cognitive biases, the less of a stranglehold they will have on our beliefs. Just realizing the degree to which our perceptions and judgments can be radically altered by seemingly irrelevant factors is very important. In my experience this is often the one critical difference that separates those with a generally skeptical outlook from those more inclined toward uncritical belief. Believers find the subjective reports of others, and their own experiences, to be highly compelling, while skeptics are comfortable dismissing even dramatic anecdotes on the basis of understanding the power of self-deception and cognitive flaws and biases.

Read the rest on Neurologica.

Tags: bias, cognitve biases, preferences, rationality, self-deception

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