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English Detective # 93 Watch out for Cognitive Biases! 10-17-17
October 17, 2017
Have you ever wondered what is behind the bad decisions we all make at times? Learn about cognitive biases-- mental tendencies we rely on for easier decision-making—and how they can lead to a lot of trouble instead. The TED talk also discusses mindset: whether we approach judgments with a strong desire for all the facts, or with a preference for a certain result or outcome.
Vocabulary: Mental Processes & Cognitive Biases
assume—to think you know about something without really looking into it. (Its noun is assumption.) Example: “The teacher assumed Eric was just too lazy to do his homework until she learned he was working 20 hours a week to help feed his family.”
bias- favoring one group or choice over another without evidence; prejudice
cognitive- related to knowledge or understanding (from the Latin word for ‘getting to know something’—the same root the word ‘recognize’ comes from.)
confident- feeling able or sure of oneself or of a situation. Overconfidence is more confidence than is justified.
confirm- to verify that something that you thought or believed is in fact true.
fallacy—incorrect (or false) reasoning
mental- of (relating to) the mind
misjudge- to make a mistake in judgment; misunderstand
perceive—to recognize with the senses (see, hear, sense). Perception is the noun: knowledge obtained through the senses.
rely- to trust in someone or something for help. Reliance means confidence or trust; reliability means trustworthiness. Example: The business lost a lot of money because of over-reliance on a single supplier that was devastated by the hurricane.
To practice related words (about honesty and deception, rather than self-deception), see 20+ Words for Truth, Falsehood, and Error.” A link to the answers is at the bottom of the page.
Incidentally, English Detective 53 has some ideas for teaching children about bias. If you’re a teacher, you may find those links useful.
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