Cognitive bias holding you back?

20 February 2020
Karikatur von Gerhard Mester zum Thema: Klima und Zukunft

A quick listicle from the World Economic Forum on cognitive biases that could be holding some of us back at work.

  1. The sunk cost fallacy — when you have already invested so much time, emotion, or effort in something that it becomes difficult to abandon, even though you should.
  2. Confirmation bias — you only seek out information that confirms what you already believe because weighing up contrasting evidence takes more mental energy.
  3. The halo effect — when your overall impression of something leads to false conclusions. (If you think someone is beautiful, you might also assume that they are clever and good.)
  4. Groupthink — people in groups often want to avoid conflict and want to reach consensus, so members of that group don't challenge the opinion of the majority, which can lead to group adoption of bad ideas.
  5. The spotlight effect — when you think people are paying far more attention to you than they really are.

I have some South African real life examples for each of these:

  1. Our government wanting to keep South African Airways afloat.
  2. Vegetarians who believe agriculture is better for the planet than livestock.
  3. Cyril Ramaphosa speaks better English than Jacob Zuma, so his policies will be different.
  4. Communities burning down schools to protest lack of service delivery.
  5. Mmusi Maimane.






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