Reasons for Humility
Reason #4: After teaching Psychology for several years at a nearby University, I have begun to get acquainted with my brain. I’m beginning to attend the “Board of Directors” meetings at Dave Beach: Cognitions, Interpretations, and Beliefs, Inc.
A partial list of my dysfunctional board of directors:
Mr. Primacy Effect—a cognitive bias that results from paying greater attention to initial stimuli or observations. If, for example, I see a sufficiently long list of words, I am more likely to remember words read toward the beginning than words read in the middle. (Think first impressions—very enduring.)
If God is working redemptively in others’ lives, should not I be paying greater attention to recent updates?
Dr. False Consensus Bias—another cognitive bias, who assumes other people perceive and interpret things exactly as I do.
Dr. Bandwagon Effect—the tendency to do (or believe) things because many other people do (or believe) the same. (First cousin to Dr. False Consensus Bias)
Mr. Confirmation bias—the tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms my preconceptions.
Dr. Fundamental Attribution Error—the tendency to interpret other people’s behavior as a result of their personality while failing to acknowledge potential situational influences.
Ms. Catastrophizer—a tendency to overstate the importance of a negative event.
Sir Overgeneralizer—a tendency to overestimate the frequency of an event, or make broad assumptions based on insufficient evidence.
Ms. Myth of Causation—a tendency to interpret one person’s emotions as the direct result of another person’s actions.
Mr. Need for Approval—the tendency to believe I’m OK only if everyone approves of me.
Sir Status Quo bias—the tendency to want things to remain relatively the same (related to Loss aversion and Endowment effect).
Father Tyranny of the “shoulds”—the tendency to believe others ought to think and behave in a way that fits my belief system.
Last, but most certainly not least, and currently serving as the chairman of the board, Dr. Bias Blind Spot—the tendency not to compensate for my own cognitive biases.
These are the directors with which I’ve had the courage to get acquainted. (There are several I have not met yet. They just seem too far out of my comfort zone.)