TED Conversations

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 20 2012: We could try to find the correct balance between listening to others and giving them a piece of our mind.

    The one thing I've learned in my life is to trust my understanding and instincts. I also do a lot of research before I make a broad reaching statement. I am biased, in my thinking and in my actions.

    I try to be open minded and allow others the right to their own opinion. It's only when someone becomes openly racist or offers advice to others that would benefit only them at the expense of many that I become stubborn and unmovable.
    That's when I grab my weapon (words, intelligence, and education), crawl into my foxhole and wait for the attack. Sometimes I go one step further and tie my legs so I can't run away.

    But yes, I can be biased but I take criticism well. I welcome Constructive criticism. That's one of the reasons I like the TED conversation environment. We learn much from our mistakes.
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      Aug 20 2012: John, I agree about TED. I've only been participating on the TED conversations for a short time, and I've come to the understanding that I've got some serious biases that I had underestimated. I've been pretty blunt in some conversations, and I've learned that it doesn't get me anywhere. I thought I was more open minded than maybe I am. That's why I asked this question, and I'm getting a lot of great feedback.
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        Aug 20 2012: We're in the same herd. I've been blogging for years and I've learned the same thing about myself.

        In the early days of IRC, etc, it was like TED, then came the Christians, then the Muslims, then the Seventh Day Adventists, etc. and finally, the Government wade in.

        It's settling down a bit and many of the old blogs are gone or reformed to be more informative rather than controversial, except for the Hate Blogs.

        Yes, I like TED. For people like me who like to converse about everything, it's a good place to be human. I'm not really a chimpanzee. :)

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