May 3, 2019
This is the second episode in the series on “all the biases”
broken up into eight categories. Last week, I told you about all
the personal biases (and the rules your brain uses to convince
itself it is the most awesome and amazing thing in the world).
Today, we are going to talk about all the biases that relate to
other people and groups. We will start out with general biases, and
then have sections about the biases that apply for people we are
similar to and those we are different from. And, in case you are
curious, the other six categories of biases we will cover in coming
weeks are: memories, future versus present thinking, selective
attention, math is hard, lazy brain, and finally novelty and
I’m so excited to break those all down for you! And as a
reminder, this series is not about digging deep on any one topic,
but instead giving you just a little taste of each bias and how you
can use it in life and business. Each of these biases will likely
get its own episode over time, but this will allow you to learn a
little about them, and how they relate to each other, now.
- [04:32] Intro to general biases toward other people and
- [05:28] This first term is probably one you are familiar with:
groupthink. This is essentially what happens when
people are in groups, and either because they want to have a
harmonious experience or not rock the boat…or just the herding
mentality of humans, the people within the group start to make bad
decisions. These could be irrational or different than what the
person would choose to do if left to their own devices, and it is
often in an attempt to minimize conflicts.
- [06:01] One way Amazon combats this is by having a silent start
to meetings (and I linked to an article in Inc. about this in the
show notes). Essentially, the leader of the meeting has to write a
very well-thought out meeting prep document, which is presented at
the beginning of the meeting, and everyone will sit and read it
silently to themselves.
- [07:18] Shared information bias can be
- [08:03] Bike shedding is when it's easier to
talk about a simple topic instead of the one big topic that you
should be talking about.
- [08:29] Be aware of the bandwagon effect in
- [10:20] It's harder to build the snowball than to keep it
moving so you will have more effort on the front end.
- [10:55] People look better and are more attractive when they're
in a group then when they're by themselves. Remember, things are
not always what they seem, so don't be intimidated.
- [11:57] Because of hostile attribution bias
you might think that the group will be mean to you.
- [13:07] Stereotyping is a natural tendency and
doesn't have to be hostile. It's expecting someone who's a member
of a certain group to have certain characteristics.
- [15:04] Humans are complex and belong to all sorts of affinity
groups that make up our identities.
- [16:09] The bulk of your perception of any person is based on
their group affiliations and a stereotypical bias
which may or may not be true or accurate for an individual.
- [17:52] Implicit association, which is how
quickly a word comes to mind or matches with a previous word that
was said. That can show how closely they are associated.
- [20:10] Because of the moral credential
effect, if you have tended to not be prejudiced in the
past…your likeliness to be prejudiced in the future is actually
- [21:21] Fundamental attribution error is
important to keep in mind when thinking about how we assess the
actions and choices of other people.
- [22:10] When people experience the flip of this – thinking
others’ behavior is due to a situation and their own behaviors are
more about their personality, it is called extrinsic
- [23:25] When you make an internal attribution error to the
whole group instead of the individuals that make it up, it is
called ultimate attribution error.
- [24:04] When we apply this bias to individuals instead of a
group, it is called the halo effect.
- [25:50] And, my general advice is to be aware of it and try to
think of other people as multidimensional, and remember that every
group is made up of multiple, multidimensional people.
- [26:18] PEOPLE LIKE US
- 00:26:34] Alright, moving on to groups of people like us. In
general, we like people who are like us more than people who are
not like us. This is called the in-group bias, and
people are more likely to give preferential treatment to people who
they see as part of their own group, or who they think are like
- [27:57] Another place where in-group bias can come up is when
hearing about a victim in a story. Defensive attribution
hypothesis occurs when people assign more blame as their
similarity to the victim increases – this can be both in physical
attributes or situational similarities.
- [29:25] Anthropocentric thinking is when we
use human analogies and thought processes when considering less
familiar, non-human things. A common example would be noting that
most humans think of death as a negative thing, they apply this
same value to non-human entities, even though death is necessary
for many ecosystems to thrive.
- [31:36] This is called anthropomorphism or (as
you might remember from school) personification.
When we see a dog smiling we think it is happy.
- [32:27] PEOPLE DIFFERENT FROM US
- [33:03] Reactive evaluation, which means we
will think less of proposals or suggestions that we believe came
from an adversary or someone not like us.
- [35:09] Be aware of these biases and how they impact your
experiences every single day.
- [35:30] Try to identify your biases and see where you are
unfairly judging or giving benefits to someone similar to you.
- [35:55] Let's open our minds and make the world a little less
biased and a little more thoughtful shall we?
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