help Cognitive Biases question

Question Description

Define cognitive bias. Choose two types of cognitive bias and explain how they inhibit critical thought. Demonstrate how you would use critical thinking to overcome cognitive bias in online learning to ensure academic success.

Final Answer

Cognitive bias is a tendency that our brains have to make assumptions and over-generalize things based on specific information that it chooses to focus on, or avoid altogether. The underlying fact behind cognitive bias is that it is a judgement based on something that really is not there; it is decision-making based on assumptions and conditional factors.

Bandwagon effect is one type of cognitive bias: people who tend to agree or vote for whatever the majority of the others vote without considering their own point of view on it. When the phrase "jumping in the bandwagon" is used colloquially it refers to the act of joining the crowd and following everyone else. Political groups tend to depend on this to whip votes and move masses of people who refuse to look at real information before making a judgement. The desire to belong to a group, the want to be associated with a "party" or a "name" is what inhibits critical thought and overrides all possible chance to do what is right.

Confirmation bias is another type. Think "MSNBC" and "FOX" news. This is the act of conducting exhaustive searches for anything that would prove your point. However--you are only searching for things that agree with your point of view 100% while actively shaking off anything that would bring on an argument against it. Therefore, you will look for information about what you want in a place where you cannot be argued. How come some news networks happen to find evidence in favor and against President Obama that make them both look correct? Because the information that they look for is entirely favorable to their respective points of view. It is like dishing out things you already know to appear smarter or to make yourself seem correct. 

The only way to overcome critical bias is by obtaining facts and checking them for evidence.  People in online environments will come from all walks of life, systems of belief, and political viewpoints. One thing is to read or hear what they say and take it for what it is:  personal opinion. A very different thing is to let their opinions infiltrate your own ability for judgement and make you doubt your own system of beliefs and thoughts. When people come with "facts" to present for an argument, be always the one who will go above and beyond proving it wrong, until they prove themselves right. Where there is argument there must be true, pure, evidence. Do not ever let the masses dictate how you are to think or act; dare to question the "hype" of certain political views and activities. Always remember that the point of view that you need to craft is your own, and that nobody has the right to infiltrate in your thoughts. Always respect your mind first and foremost. Yours first, always. And you will be successful.

professoro1 (1292)
UT Austin

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