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HOW BIASED HAVE YOU
BEEN TODAY?
Howard Gray
@howardgray // www.howardgray.net
Identifying & Overcoming Cognitive Biases
Entertainment Entrepreneurship
ExperiencesEducation
Sunday morning soccer by the Williamsburg Bridge
Tactics
I only play at the back; more
side to side than up and down
Get it, give it.
Unglamorous but effective.
I’d see other teams making
challenges like this…
And was outraged when I saw
our players assaulted like this:
Despite me being a qualified
(bespectacled) soccer referee, I
was blinded
And just like the renowned manager
of London’s Arsenal FC…
Why?!
I was experiencing something
similar to this gentleman’s
‘Reality Distortion Field’
“The reality distortion field was a
confounding melange of a charismatic
rhetorical style, an indomitable will,
and an eage...
These people are also well known for a
similar trait
I wanted to find out more…for the rest
of us is it Reality Distortion...
?
WHAT IS BIAS?
“prejudice in favour of or against one
thing, person, or group compared
with another, usually in a way
considered to be un...
COGNITIVELY…
“a mistake in reasoning, evaluating or
remembering… often occurring as a
result of holding onto one's
preferences and beli...
My Twitter feed has a fair bit
of opinion on this…
While I try and navigate the
various US media options
WHY DO WE HAVE BIASES?
HELP US ADDRESS 4 PROBLEMS
Problem
Information overload
Lack of meaning
A need to act quickly
Knowing what we need
to reme...
HOW MANY?
HOW MANY?
➤ What should we remember?
➤ Too much information
➤ Not enough meaning
➤ Need to act fast
ALL RELATE TO:
20 MOST COMMON
➤ Anchoring
➤ Availability
➤ Bandwagon
➤ Blind Spot
➤ Choice-supportive
➤ Clustering
➤ Confirmation
➤ Conser...
5
of my most favoured, preferred, memorable,
useful, and completely unbiased biases.
SURVIVORSHIP
SURVIVORSHIP
SURVIVORSHIP
➤ History is written by the victors. But we learn false lessons
by studying victors
➤ As Nassim Taleb said, w...
SURVIVORSHIP
➤ Don’t focus on winners
like these two - look for
losers
➤ Take a walk in the
cemetery of failure
➤ Remember...
OVER
CONFIDENCE
“Overconfident professionals sincerely
believe they have expertise, act as
experts and look like experts…remind
yourself th...
OVER CONFIDENCE
➤ We often have to act fast in
uncertainty
➤ Experts are more prone to
over-confidence
➤ Illusion of contro...
OVER-CONFIDENCE
➤ Two professors quizzed undergraduate psychology
students on grammar, logic, and jokes, then asked
the st...
OVER-CONFIDENCE
➤ Dunning Kruger’s experiment was inspired by
the 1995 case of a bank robber named
McArthur Wheeler
➤ Whee...
OVER-CONFIDENCE
➤ What don’t I know?
➤ Is this objective
information?
➤ What’s out of my control?
➤ Which internal factors...
AVAILABILITY
AVAILABILITY
➤ My friend Johnny is beach body ready
➤ He offered me a beer. He was drinking
and looks healthy
➤ I’d seen ot...
AVAILABILITY
“Once one becomes
sufficiently well known,
one's name surfaces
automatically as soon
as an award committee
asse...
AVAILABILITY
➤ Which ideas do I not
already know that I can
apply to the situation at
hand?
➤ Am I overly fond of this
exi...
ANCHORING
ANCHORING
➤ We’re over-reliant on
the first piece of
information we hear,
whether price or miles
on the clock
➤ We also ove...
ANCHORING
➤ Which other frames can I
apply to this piece of
information? (both
positive and negative)
➤ Am I overvaluing t...
ANCHORING
➤ When negotiating, get the other
side to go first rather than
putting your own anchor out
there
CLUSTERING
CLUSTERING
➤ We only get a tiny sliver of the world’s
information and filter out almost everything
else.
➤ We find stories a...
CLUSTERING
Gambler’s Fallacy
CLUSTERING
Michael Mauboussin’s Skill-Luck Continuum
CLUSTERING
➤ Am I simplifying the
probabilities and numbers
to make them easier to
think about?
➤ Am I underestimating the...
SURVIVORSHIP
OVER-CONFIDENCE
AVAILABILITY
ANCHORING
CLUSTERING
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
➤ Overvaluing a school when hiring
➤ Placing too much importance on the first
number when talking ab...
FURTHER READING
➤ Design Hacks: Cognitive Bias Codex
➤ Nassim Nicholas Taleb: Black Swan
➤ Michael Mauboussin: The Success...
“I know that most people - not only those considered
clever, and capable of understanding most difficult
scientific, mathemat...
HOW BIASED HAVE YOU
BEEN TODAY?
THANKS!
@howardgray
www.howardgray.net
Mind the Gap - a primer on Biases & Mental Models
Mind the Gap - a primer on Biases & Mental Models
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Mind the Gap - a primer on Biases & Mental Models

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An annotated and somewhat abbreviated version of a talk I did back in May 2018 for Hyper Island’s Learning Lab in New York City, focused on biases, decision making, and mental models

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Mind the Gap - a primer on Biases & Mental Models

  1. 1. HOW BIASED HAVE YOU BEEN TODAY?
  2. 2. Howard Gray @howardgray // www.howardgray.net Identifying & Overcoming Cognitive Biases
  3. 3. Entertainment Entrepreneurship ExperiencesEducation
  4. 4. Sunday morning soccer by the Williamsburg Bridge
  5. 5. Tactics
  6. 6. I only play at the back; more side to side than up and down Get it, give it. Unglamorous but effective.
  7. 7. I’d see other teams making challenges like this…
  8. 8. And was outraged when I saw our players assaulted like this:
  9. 9. Despite me being a qualified (bespectacled) soccer referee, I was blinded
  10. 10. And just like the renowned manager of London’s Arsenal FC…
  11. 11. Why?!
  12. 12. I was experiencing something similar to this gentleman’s ‘Reality Distortion Field’
  13. 13. “The reality distortion field was a confounding melange of a charismatic rhetorical style, an indomitable will, and an eagerness to bend any fact to fit the purpose at hand.  -Andy Hertzfeld, Apple
  14. 14. These people are also well known for a similar trait I wanted to find out more…for the rest of us is it Reality Distortion Field, or something else?
  15. 15. ?
  16. 16. WHAT IS BIAS?
  17. 17. “prejudice in favour of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair.
  18. 18. COGNITIVELY…
  19. 19. “a mistake in reasoning, evaluating or remembering… often occurring as a result of holding onto one's preferences and beliefs regardless of contrary information.
  20. 20. My Twitter feed has a fair bit of opinion on this…
  21. 21. While I try and navigate the various US media options
  22. 22. WHY DO WE HAVE BIASES?
  23. 23. HELP US ADDRESS 4 PROBLEMS Problem Information overload Lack of meaning A need to act quickly Knowing what we need to remember later Solution We aggressively filter We fill in the gaps We jump to conclusions We remember the ‘important’ bits
  24. 24. HOW MANY?
  25. 25. HOW MANY?
  26. 26. ➤ What should we remember? ➤ Too much information ➤ Not enough meaning ➤ Need to act fast ALL RELATE TO:
  27. 27. 20 MOST COMMON ➤ Anchoring ➤ Availability ➤ Bandwagon ➤ Blind Spot ➤ Choice-supportive ➤ Clustering ➤ Confirmation ➤ Conservatism ➤ Information ➤ Ostrich ➤ Outcome ➤ Overconfidence ➤ Placebo ➤ Pro-innovation ➤ Recency ➤ Salience ➤ Selective perception ➤ Stereotyping ➤ Survivorship ➤ Zero-risk
  28. 28. 5 of my most favoured, preferred, memorable, useful, and completely unbiased biases.
  29. 29. SURVIVORSHIP
  30. 30. SURVIVORSHIP
  31. 31. SURVIVORSHIP ➤ History is written by the victors. But we learn false lessons by studying victors ➤ As Nassim Taleb said, we don’t see the “silent grave” – the lottery ticket holders who did not win ➤ We over-attribute success to things done by the successful rather than randomness or luck ➤ We don’t see losers who acted in the same way but were not lucky enough to succeed
  32. 32. SURVIVORSHIP ➤ Don’t focus on winners like these two - look for losers ➤ Take a walk in the cemetery of failure ➤ Remember the 10 year overnight success ➤ Understand the role of luck
  33. 33. OVER CONFIDENCE
  34. 34. “Overconfident professionals sincerely believe they have expertise, act as experts and look like experts…remind yourself they may be in the grip of an illusion. - Daniel Kahnemann
  35. 35. OVER CONFIDENCE ➤ We often have to act fast in uncertainty ➤ Experts are more prone to over-confidence ➤ Illusion of control: we behave as if we have some control… when in fact we have none
  36. 36. OVER-CONFIDENCE ➤ Two professors quizzed undergraduate psychology students on grammar, logic, and jokes, then asked the students to estimate their scores and also estimate how well they did relative to others ➤ The students who scored lowest had greatly exaggerated notions of how well they did. ➤ Those who scored near the bottom estimated that their skills were superior to two-thirds of the other students. ➤ Those who scored higher had, as might be expected, more accurate perceptions of their abilities. ➤ But the group that scored highest slightly underestimated their performance relative to others.
  37. 37. OVER-CONFIDENCE ➤ Dunning Kruger’s experiment was inspired by the 1995 case of a bank robber named McArthur Wheeler ➤ Wheeler thought he knew a lot about a peculiar chemical property of lemon juice ➤ He decided to smear the juice on his face before executing his plan to rob the bank ➤ It didn’t work. His over-confidence in his beliefs left him with egg on his face instead
  38. 38. OVER-CONFIDENCE ➤ What don’t I know? ➤ Is this objective information? ➤ What’s out of my control? ➤ Which internal factors may I be attributing too much towards?
  39. 39. AVAILABILITY
  40. 40. AVAILABILITY ➤ My friend Johnny is beach body ready ➤ He offered me a beer. He was drinking and looks healthy ➤ I’d seen other people do and look the same, so why not? ➤ We over-weigh the information that’s available to us ➤ This distorts our understanding of real risks
  41. 41. AVAILABILITY “Once one becomes sufficiently well known, one's name surfaces automatically as soon as an award committee assembles” Aka “staying in the game”
  42. 42. AVAILABILITY ➤ Which ideas do I not already know that I can apply to the situation at hand? ➤ Am I overly fond of this existing idea? ➤ What other information could be useful to help me understand this?
  43. 43. ANCHORING
  44. 44. ANCHORING ➤ We’re over-reliant on the first piece of information we hear, whether price or miles on the clock ➤ We also overweigh the significance of new or bizarre information. Maybe that’s why we like to tell tall stories. Why was Danny deVito clocking the cars in ‘Matilda’?
  45. 45. ANCHORING ➤ Which other frames can I apply to this piece of information? (both positive and negative) ➤ Am I overvaluing this just because it’s new, novel, or the first thing I saw? ➤ What do you think about this work?
  46. 46. ANCHORING ➤ When negotiating, get the other side to go first rather than putting your own anchor out there
  47. 47. CLUSTERING
  48. 48. CLUSTERING ➤ We only get a tiny sliver of the world’s information and filter out almost everything else. ➤ We find stories and patterns even in sparse data.  ➤ Because we like stories that make sense, our brain reconstructs the world to feel complete inside our heads. ➤ Toss a coin 999 times and its heads. What’s the 1000th result?
  49. 49. CLUSTERING Gambler’s Fallacy
  50. 50. CLUSTERING Michael Mauboussin’s Skill-Luck Continuum
  51. 51. CLUSTERING ➤ Am I simplifying the probabilities and numbers to make them easier to think about? ➤ Am I underestimating the role of luck vs skill? ➤ Which story am I telling myself?
  52. 52. SURVIVORSHIP OVER-CONFIDENCE AVAILABILITY ANCHORING CLUSTERING
  53. 53. WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? ➤ Overvaluing a school when hiring ➤ Placing too much importance on the first number when talking about salary ➤ Ignoring risks because of our expertise ➤ Undervaluing ourselves because we only see the victors ➤ Choosing an option because we’re fond of it
  54. 54. FURTHER READING ➤ Design Hacks: Cognitive Bias Codex ➤ Nassim Nicholas Taleb: Black Swan ➤ Michael Mauboussin: The Success Equation - Untangling Skill & Luck ➤ Buster Benson’s Cognitive Bias Cheatsheet ➤ Dan Ariely: Predictably Irrational ➤ Shane Parrish: Farnam Street blog and podcast
  55. 55. “I know that most people - not only those considered clever, and capable of understanding most difficult scientific, mathematical, or philosophic problems - can very seldom discern even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as to oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions they have formed, perhaps with much difficultly - conclusions of which they are proud, which they have taught to others, and on which they have built their lives.
  56. 56. HOW BIASED HAVE YOU BEEN TODAY?
  57. 57. THANKS! @howardgray www.howardgray.net
  • RizwanBasha11

    Mar. 11, 2020

An annotated and somewhat abbreviated version of a talk I did back in May 2018 for Hyper Island’s Learning Lab in New York City, focused on biases, decision making, and mental models

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