All entries for Monday 15 April 2013

April 15, 2013

RDM: Bias

There is one common phrase we hear all the time when decisions go wrong. It goes something along the lines of "I'm only human". The implication being that humans are prone to making mistakes. I don't want to debate this point as it is not this statement per se that is important. What's more important is the understanding of biases and how they can affect our judgement. And this was another great learning point from the RDM module.

There are many different types of biases present in any given decision making process. By their very nature, they can be very hard to identify as they directly relate to a person's feelings and perception. Groups and organizations try their utmost to eliminate any such bias (e.g. from the recruitment process) but sometimes, it can be near impossible to eradicate all bias from a decision. Hence, when things go wrong, we resort to phrases such as "we're only human".

During the in-module work, we came across a number of biases, for example, overconfidence bias, hindsight bias, social (group) bias, availability bias (where we recall things that are easy for us and make decisions that we are already familiar with) and anchoring bias (where we limit our analysis of the information and base our decision on an irrelevant information).

I hope to use this information that I have learnt in any future decision making. Whilst it will not get rid of every possible bias, the increased awareness will certainly help me be as objective as possible and make a more robust choice.


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