How to become a less biased version of yourself

#1
We are ''naturally'' biased? That's news to me. I've always viewed (some) biases as social coping mechanisms, that evolve over time, due to our varied experiences, and how we perceive the world. 

https://www.fastcompany.com/90303107/how...f-yourself
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#2
Hey Wegs, how's it going? These topics usually aren't my cup of tea, and this one no different. Stole an excerpt from your link provided:

Quote:the number of people who believe in the inferiority of certain nationalities, genders, ethnicities, or religious groups is probably significantly larger than the number of people who behave in nasty or derogatory ways toward those very groups. That is a good thing: We call it civilization.

Don't know if it's totally about thinking others are inferior because I think it is more natural for a human to be territorial than biased. In fact bias may be a component of being territorial. So in that respect it's natural by default, I guess. So if one is territorial they may be prone to feeling threatened, not necessarily physically, and people as they are apt to do....react differently. Less violent /inflammatory reaction means civilized, at least I think that is what the quote is saying. Sounds like a very hypocritical stance to take in which I won't be labelled biased as long as I am phoney/quiet about it. 

Don't know how this article will make someone less biased. Quieter maybe.  

That's all you'll get from me.
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#3
So agree with you, Z. I think we're tribal by nature perhaps, not sure that extends to be biased by nature, as the article suggests. I don't like when leaps are taken, and then it's presented as fact. But, I'd agree that we are tribal by nature, we like the familiar, and when something seems unfamiliar, we tend to react. Not always in a positive way. I wish to believe that I'm somehow immune to this, but alas, I'm not. That quiet internal voice tugs at me now and then, to cross the street if I feel threatened, when someone I'm not quite sure of approaches me. Some of this comes down to safety, too. Self-preservation.
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#4
A bias is only a strong preference or assumption. Since humans are naturally inclined to have preferences and to make assumptions in the lack of detailed information, they are naturally biased. There's just no other way to deal with the need to make choices when all the information isn't available. You can either make decisions based on your experience or be frozen in indecision. But yes, specific biases are developed by experience or even influenced by culture/social pressure (tribalism). As the article points out, we cannot really function in the world without making assumptions, which are often aimed at protecting ourselves. And the direction of those assumptions is our bias. For example, assuming all men might be dangerous is an assumption, likely born of past experience, and a bias, as it makes the broad generality instead of relying on more specific cues, like gang tattoos or not making eye contact.

The better path would be to actually make an effort to interact with people who question or dislike your values, at least to understand how they think.

That's why I visit this forum.

Start by analyzing what other people may be thinking, their motives and attitudes. Then try to justify why they may think and feel as they do.

Something else I've done recently here.

Awareness of bias is a necessary step for dealing with it, even if it’s not the entire antidote. One interesting tool to get there is the implicit association test, which while clearly not perfect, has been used for decades to explore the gap between people’s explicit and implicit biases.

Accepting that we all have a natural tendency to have biases may be a first step in becoming aware of them.
I've already done implicit bias tests too.

Ultimately, what matters is not how you feel or what you think about people deep down, but how you behave.

Seems I was telling someone that just the other day.
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#5
Quote:https://www.fastcompany.com/90303107/how...f-yourself

Here's that list of circa two or three hundred plus biases it references: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases

(Feb 19, 2019 02:35 PM)Leigha Wrote: We are ''naturally'' biased? That's news to me.

There aren't any feral humans to test pristinely for what's native to the psychology of the species. Which is perhaps irrelevant since in a sense our being artificially cultivated by a variety of invented schemes, concepts, and practices (i.e., "self-domesticated") is the inherent property distinct to us. Today both "nature" descended from our primeval forebears and "nurture" contingently arising from our environment slash social prescriptions and personal experiences are deemed to contribute in reciprocal relationships.

Quote:I've always viewed (some) biases as social coping mechanisms, that evolve over time, due to our varied experiences, and how we perceive the world.

There's one spot where the article at least does point out that both individuals (and society) couldn't function effectively without any subjective and group preferred, habitual inferences at all. The latter might be faulty in terms of universal application, but some are potentially useful as well as survival oriented at the level of local, immediate situations. Since the alternative would be having the mental prowess of a rock, cognition entails discrimination or outputting of and being aware of differences between things in constantly changing surroundings. With memory then attaching snap-decision rules, judgements, and customs in terms of behavioral response to or lack of response to _X_.

The community institutions and authorities that dominate during a particular era/place will highlight and propagandize against (or even for) the "biases" and predilections assessed as detrimental/beneficial to the political, moral, cultural, and economic stability of the times/region. (Neither rationality nor irrationality will across all contexts usually serve the interests of the governing sages and agencies.)

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#6
(Feb 19, 2019 08:39 PM)C C Wrote:
(Feb 19, 2019 02:35 PM)Leigha Wrote: We are ''naturally'' biased? That's news to me.

There aren't any feral humans to test pristinely for what's native to the psychology of the species.

There are studies of toddlers, infants, and monkeys on gender-preferred toys which are a fair stand-in for a "pristine" human.
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#7
(Feb 19, 2019 08:39 PM)C C Wrote:
Quote:https://www.fastcompany.com/90303107/how...f-yourself

Here's that list of circa two or three hundred plus biases it references: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases

(Feb 19, 2019 02:35 PM)Leigha Wrote: We are ''naturally'' biased? That's news to me.

There aren't any feral humans to test pristinely for what's native to the psychology of the species. Which is perhaps irrelevant since in a sense our being artificially cultivated by a variety of invented schemes, concepts, and practices (i.e., "self-domesticated") is the inherent property distinct to us. Today both "nature" descended from our primeval forebears and "nurture" contingently arising from our environment slash social prescriptions and personal experiences are deemed to contribute in reciprocal relationships.

Quote:I've always viewed (some) biases as social coping mechanisms, that evolve over time, due to our varied experiences, and how we perceive the world.

There's one spot where the article at least does point out that both individuals (and society) couldn't function effectively without any subjective and group preferred, habitual inferences at all. The latter might be faulty in terms of universal application, but some are potentially useful as well as survival oriented at the level of local, immediate situations. Since the alternative would be having the mental prowess of a rock, cognition entails discrimination or outputting of and being aware of differences between things in constantly changing surroundings. With memory then attaching snap-decision rules, judgements, and customs in terms of behavioral response to or lack of response to _X_.

The community institutions and authorities that dominate during a particular era/place will highlight and propagandize against (or even for) the "biases" and predilections assessed as detrimental/beneficial to the political, moral, cultural, and economic stability of the times/region. (Neither rationality nor irrationality will across all contexts usually serve the interests of the governing sages and agencies.)

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Feral humans probably would have the most biases of all.  Big Grin I understand your point.

I've been most intrigued these days by a philosophy known as ''mindfulness.'' It's nothing new, our ancestors might have employed it, but they didn't label it as such. But, it basically offers the idea that we humans feel this inner need to react to all events, and stimuli coming our way, at any given moment, instead of just taking it in, for what it is. Without bias or judgement. I tried this today when my phone started vibrating, and I glanced down to see the same number that has been calling me for weeks, appear on the screen. The caller left a voicemail for me a while ago, and now I recognize the number. I've vacillated between feeling angry about these annoying calls, to meh, whatever. Now, today, the same caller's number appeared on my phone, and instead of reacting, I just added it to contacts, and blocked the call.

Why didn't I do that sooner? Why did I keep reacting to the call, but never finding a solution? I could have answered the phone, and simply stated ''don't call me again, I'm not interested.'' But, I didn't. I find myself reacting less lately, and thus, my biases are shrinking. I'm allowing myself to see people for who they are, instead of what I want them to be. I'm reading posts on this forum, with less of my own bias, and just posting what I feel might add value to the discussion. If I disagree with someone, I don't even need to share that sentiment. I can simply take in others' posts, and move on with life. If I choose to engage, it will be not to merely react to someone's views, as I've been woefully guilty of in the past.

This isn't to say that all biases are negative, for some protect us. But, they tend to grow from our personal reactions. We don't need to react to everything happening around us. We simply don't. It's a liberating feeling to know that I have a choice in what I react to, and if I allow myself to develop a bias.

If someone hates men or women, or broad brushes different ethnic backgrounds as ''bad,'' it's because they have lived their entire lives reacting to others, without even knowing why.
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#8
You gotta watch out for this oneWink
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#9
(Feb 19, 2019 09:28 PM)Secular Sanity Wrote: You gotta watch out for this oneWink

The introspection illusion is a cognitive bias in which people wrongly think they have direct insight into the origins of their mental states, while treating others' introspections as unreliable. In certain situations, this illusion leads people to make confident but false explanations of their own behaviour (called "causal theories"[1]) or inaccurate predictions of their future mental states.


In case you missed it, that's not a bias about mistaking the origins of others' mental states, but is a bias about mistaking the origins of ones own mental states.
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#10
(Feb 19, 2019 10:14 PM)Syne Wrote:
(Feb 19, 2019 09:28 PM)Secular Sanity Wrote: You gotta watch out for this oneWink

The introspection illusion is a cognitive bias in which people wrongly think they have direct insight into the origins of their mental states, while treating others' introspections as unreliable. In certain situations, this illusion leads people to make confident but false explanations of their own behaviour (called "causal theories"[1]) or inaccurate predictions of their future mental states.


In case you missed it, that's not a bias about mistaking the origins of others' mental states, but is a bias about mistaking the origins of ones own mental states.

In case you forgot, I was the one that taught you about biases.
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