This is the first in a long series about cognitive bias.  In many ancient texts the nature of mind was discussed from the perspective of the culture.  In today's world we have the benefit of devices which can peer directly into the brain and see the mechanisms at work during periods when cognitive biases are expressed.

The basis for this discussion is that arbiter of all wisdom (sic), Wikipedia.  We will start with the major categories and then look at specific biases.

The reason that understanding cognitive bias is so important is that it goes to the heart of the Hermetic axiom, "know thyself".  What we are finding is that part of being very adaptable is the requirement that we respond to dissonance in ourselves and in our environment.  Without these biases, short term, life could be very miserable, but more on that later.  On the other hand these biases lead us to create unrealistic expectations in life, causing a lot of heartache and misery for us and others.

Finally we will engage in a discussion about neuroscience, cognitive bias and ancient thought systems, especially Buddhism and its treatment of the mind.

There are four basic groups of cognitive bias. 

They are:

Social Bias

  • Biases which are based on ones relating themselves to others.

Memory Bias

  • Biases which result from the inability to remember accurately.

Decision-Making Bias

  • Focusses on the desirability of an option or set of options.

Probability/Belief Bias

  • Misapprehension based on the effect of belief systems.

Next segment:  Social Biases, or why we all think that we're above average.

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