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Eric Grovum

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What can we do to confront our own cognitive biases?

Everyone has a world view. We each have our own point of view that has been molded by our experiences, relationships, religious backgrounds, etc.

Sometimes, when we are confronted with an opinion that is in opposition to our world view, we experience cognitive dissonance, the uncomfortable feeling that creates a wall in our mind around the beliefs that we feel define our very selves. Sometimes we are wrong and have a hard time allowing new information to be considered. Sometimes we are right, but we think so for illogical or unsupported reasons.

What techniques work for you when you deal with these cognitive barriers? Or do you believe you are infallible? Socrates said in rough translation, "I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing."

Is it reasonable to look at things from new perspectives, or should we draw a line in the sand on certain issues?

My goal is to come to a truer understanding of my world, but it is a challenge to overcome mental inertia.


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    Aug 19 2012: Hi again Eric:>)
    I think/feel the first step is to acknowledge and recognize our cognitive biases. If we "know" ourselves, this is an ongoing process to learn, grow and evolve. If we "know" ourselves and understand ourselves, we know the background of where the biases come from. If/when we experience "cognitive dissonance", I suggest that our intuition/instinct is giving us information that tells us we may want to explore more about our biases.

    When we are confident and comfortabley accepting of our thoughts, feelings, ideas, opinions and beliefs, we would not be feeling "dissonance" when our beliefs are challenged.

    Many people have difficulty allowing new information to be considered because people sometimes get comfortable with certain beliefs, and fail to see the opportunity in at least looking at new information.

    The technique that works for me is to be always curious, exploring, and realize that the life experience is about learning....at least for me.....so I would be denying myself the opportunity to learn more possibilities if I did not at least consider new information.

    It is always an individual choice to look at things from new perspectives, or to draw a line in the sand for certain issues. I guess I have never drawn a line in the sand and refused to look at new or different information. Just imagining that concept does not feel good to me because I would be denying myself an opportunity.

    You say you would like to "overcome mental inertia". What is the best way to do that? Perhaps opening the heart and mind to new information? You may be giving yourself a gift by doing so:>)
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      Aug 19 2012: Thanks Colleen,

      Specific techniques to make it more comfortable confronting my biases was exactly what I was after.


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