April 23, 2012

Situational awareness and confirmation bias

biasSituational awareness is more than common sense. However, common sense and emotional intelligence can be vital parts of it. In other words, situational awareness can be simply defined as knowing what is going on in the surrounding environment. As we learned today, situational awareness can be affected by several factors and can result in errors.

One of the most interesting things though in this situational awareness, is the confirmation bias which means that you see what you expect to see and you pick up signals that can support the mental model you've already created, even though the signals may say the opposite. This kind of bias can happen to us any time and I am quite sure that we all have experienced it several times so far.

In fact, this happened to me recently when I submitted a PMA. I was working on it to finalise it for almost two days and after the submission I realised that something was missing. Of course my omission is 'harmful' only for me and the potential mark that the tutor will assign, but when this thing happens in real-life situations where the stakes are higher and human lives can be involved, confirmation bias can have fatal results unfortunately.

- One comment Not publicly viewable

  1. Natnicha Tangkijngamvong

    I also believe that we have made mistakes because we have too many things on our minds. And that makes us forget what we should do and should have done. This always happens to me! I think it’s hard to avoid any ‘harmful’ moment because it involves not only ourselves and our consciousness, but also the environment and things that’s happening around us.

    24 Apr 2012, 12:34

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