Some Ways To Handle Cognitive Biases

The below table summarises the main cognitive biases; with some ways to handle them

Principal bias (definition)
Related bias
What is it
How to handle
(failing to consider alternatives, ignoring dissenting views, going for an easy option, etc)
- Affected heuristic
- Group think
- Self-interest bias
- Authority bias
- Strong preference for one answer
- Failing to look at alternatives and anti-thesis
- Not approaching dissenting views with an open mind
- Constructive confrontation
- Dialectic argument, thesis, anti-thesis, synthesis
- Team composition (to carry diversity, eg views, background. etc
- Role-playing
(blind preference for initial data/pattern)
- Saliency bias
- Neglect of reversal to mean/
- Assuming an initial data range or increased/decreased pattern is a whole range that will continue (mental numerical stickiness) - Develop alternative hypothesis (anti-thesis)
- Hard-core data gathering & analysis (including scenario planning)
- What are the team processes
Loss aversion
(failure to ignore costs already spent, ie sunk, or any asymmetrical valuing of losses and gains)
- Sunk cost fallacy
- Endowment effect
- Account book loss fear
- Mental numerical stickiness or any kind of asymmetric value of losses or gains - Clear forward-looking mindset
- good analytical tools (NPV analysis valuing options, Bayesian thinking)
(preference for existing mental maps &/or influenced by most recent facts or events)
- Substitution bias
- Overemphasis given to current events
- Use the map or story we have at hand rather than investing in understanding the new complex situation - Value of additional information
- Explicit options to wait vs to decide now
(shown by overconfidence, illusion of control, failure to contemplate negative outcomes)
- Overconfidence
- Illusion of control
- Disaster neglect
- Underestimating low probability events - Explicit extreme downside case
- Pre-mortems

(source: Charles Conn et al 2018)

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