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Desert Highway
Thoughtful writing authored and shared by members of of the Thinking Collaborative community to support others on the journey.

Sustaining the Journey

Blind Spot Bias

Authored By:

Thinking Collaborative


April 11, 2016

The brain receives so much data at any given moment that it has to filter out some data in order to be able to attend and making meaning of incoming sensory information. When that occurs, we delete, distort, and generalize reality. Authors Samantha Le and Shana Lebowitz offer a useful categorization of cognitive biases that negatively impact accurate and effective decision making. This month we will explore four and offer ways to use States of Mind/Energy Sources to correct the inaccuracies in thinking.

Blind spot bias is the failure to notice your own cognitive biases. You may be drawn to a particular style or way of working without being aware of it. For instance, we tend to hire who match our own ways of seeing the world and are unaware we are doing so. We are more likely to notice bias in others than ourselves because our own biases are so ingrained in our world view.

When working with others to invite consciousness about blind spot bias, some strategies include paraphrasing what was said so that the person can hear their own bias back. For instance, if a person says, “I prefer the first two candidates we interviewed,” you might paraphrase, “So the experiences they brought seemed like the best match,” or “You prefer the way they would approach the problem we are hoping they can solve.”

Questions can also be a way to reveal blind spot bias. Flexibility might be a useful State of Mind or Energy Source. Examples might be,

What might our own cultural biases be causing us to miss in this situation?

Given our way of seeing this, what might be some different viewpoints?

What data might we need to pay attention to that we are not considering?

What would a devil’s advocate say about this issue?

Listen for blind spot bias in yourself and others during this week. Try paraphrasing and questioning as a means for revealing the blindspots.

Lee, S.& Lebowitz, S. “20 cognitive biases that screw up your decisions,” Business Insider. August 26, 2015.

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