Community//

the rise and fall of silos —part 3: biases

breaking free of chained in the cave thinking and performing

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photo credit: pierofix on VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-ND
photo credit: pierofix on VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-ND

“The world of appearances, then, is the fabric woven on the loom of perception.” —Lawrence E. Sullivan

Ever wonder?

Why are we sometimes so “blind to our own blindness”? 

As, Kiefer Sutherland, sings, in Going Home:

“I’m tired of spinnin’ my wheels around… Got nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, God knows that I tried, I’m out in the cold, This act’s getting old, Feel myself starting to slide, Never felt so alone, I’m going home.”

Cognitive Biases

These systematic patterns of deviation from the norm and (or) rationality in judgment are a lot like a marionette’s high-wire act.

Where you must decide whether you are the puppet (external locus of control), which is worked from above by strings attached to it limbs. 

Who attributes their success to luck or fate (learned helplessness). Who is less likely to make an effort to learn. 

And more likely to experience anxiety, stress, or fear because they believe that they are not in control of their lives.

Or the puppeteer who controls their internal locus of control, and attributes success to their efforts and abilities.

Who expects to succeed, and will be more motivated, more likely to learn. 

The takeaway is not to say that an internal locus of control is “good,” and an external one is “bad.” That’s dichotomous thinking, isn’t it?

There are other variables to be considered.

Bias Blind Spot

One of these variables is the bias blind spot of recognizing the impact of biases on the judgment of others. And while failing to see the effects of biases on our judgment. The bias that you are unbiased, or at least not as biased as everyone else.

It is named after the visual blind spot.

People suffering from this bias blind spot are less accurate at evaluating their abilities relative to the abilities of others. Listen less to others’ advice. And less likely to learn from the training that helps them make less biased judgments.

They are working harder, not smarter.

Numerous other biases and self-deceptions often cause the bias blind spot.

Introspection Illusion

When we decide whether someone else is biased, we typically use overt behavior for doing so. However, when assessing whether we are biased, we look inward, searching our thoughts and feelings for biased motives.

The introspection illusion is one in which we wrongly think that we have direct insight into the origins of our mental states. And, treating others’ introspections, as unreliable. 

This illusion leads us often to make confident but false explanations of our behavior or inaccurate predictions about our future mental states.

Normalizing the abnormal (it’s still abnormal!).

Why should we not calmly and patiently review our own thoughts, Plato asked, “and thoroughly examine and see what these appearances in us really are?”

Introspection is the examination of one’s conscious thoughts and feelings.

In psychology, the process of introspection banks on observation of one’s mental state (mental representation, cognitive representation).

When we speak of this in a spiritual context, we are focusing on the examination of the soul.

As did, I believe Beth Dutton, when she spoke of how “we,” measure our progress by how “those cities” impact “the people” and “the land” surrounding them. The land, she said, that feeds them, provides them water, nourishes their souls.

Introspection aligns closely with human self-reflection (our capacity to do so, learn more about our fundamental nature and essence).

And self-discovery—travel, pilgrimage, series of events, where we determine how we feel, “personally,” about spiritual issues or priorities. Instead of following the opinions of family, friends, neighbors, or peer pressure.

These skill sets are best contrasted with external observation.

“Observe always that everything is the result of a change, and get used to thinking that there is nothing Nature loves so well as to change existing forms and to make new ones like them.”— Meditations. iv. 36.
–Marcus Aurelius

Ingroup Bias

In his HBO comedy special, “Tall, Dark & Chicano,” George Lopez said, “you mess with one bean, you mess with the whole burrito,” before a live audience at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas.

Some of his other hot buttons he covered during his stand-up show were Latino perspectives on subjects such as—change in America. Including kids today, parenting, Barack Obama, aging, sagging body parts, and trendy names for children and rednecks who date Latino women.

Sigmund Freud noticed that humor, like dreams, could be related to unconscious content, including as a form of aggression.

To mock is to disparage, and to bring down. In our world, now of political correctness, group differences (diversity and inclusion) are denied. Humor, says Nigel Barber, evolutionary psychologist, is often the first sacrifice on the fires of political righteousness.

This ingroup bias can include behaviors, attitudes, and cognitionThe stronger the group ties or similarities, the stronger the bias.

Laurie A. Rudman, social psychologist, professor, and Director of the Rutgers University Social Cognition Laboratory, said that the ordinariness of implicit prejudice, like ingroup bias, is so fundamental that “a preference for one’s ingroup may be as ordinary as a preference for one’s own children.”

It is the general “tendency to evaluate one’s own groups more positively in relation to other groups.” Positive evaluations can then result in preferential treatment. Favoring can take many forms, but may consist of rating ingroup contributions more highly, or assigning greater financial rewards.

Self-Interest

I used to be Snow White, but I drifted. —Mae West

I generally try to refrain from jokes about lawyers, as they all are easy targets. Working in forensic psychology, as long as I did, I collected a silo of them. 

So, instead, I will share what I love John Dutton, told his son, Jamie, about self-interest.

“Lawyers are the swords of this century. Words are weapons now. I need you to learn how to use them.”

Everyone is self-interested. We generally seek financial and social benefits for ourselves and close family members.

In the business context, Antony Page, Dean, College of Law, Florida International University, claims, corporate directors are likely to prefer outcomes that serve their pecuniary (from Latin pecunia’ money’; from pecu’ cattle, money’) and social needs.

Like trading labor for money, buying talent instead of developing it, or employers handle the money, but it is the employees who pay the wages.

Of course, though, in my book (mainly because of my work with M&As), Beth Dutton’s humor is a keeper— “No one wants to merge with you. You have a three-to-one debt ratio. It’d be easier to sell VCRs. …”

Even when there is no threat to directors’ continued board membership, adds Antony Page, social norms help ensure they remember those who nominated them.

The predicate is “the norm of reciprocation.” The rule that obliges us to repay others for what we have received from them. It is one of the most potent and most pervasive social forces in all human cultures.

Directors’ decision making, argues Antony Page, may thus be biased merely from a sense of obligation based in gratitude.

Jamie:     He never had that. He had their respect; he had their loyalty, but that? I don’t even know what you call that.

Kayce:     I don’t either. Gratitude, I guess.

—Yellowstone (Paramount Network)

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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