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Decoding cognitive bias

We accept that everyone has Bias, and the study of that is exhaustive if not complete. But we continue to ask Why we have bias; the answer is that we need it.

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Decoding cognitive bias

  1. 1. Decoding Cognitive Bias H O W I T W O R K S © 2020 malcolm ryder / archestra research
  2. 2. Mindset: Three Major Factors In the course of ordinary events, a person encounters ideas and situations (including, for example, needs, intentions, and plans) for which the person has an emotional acceptance or resistance. Neither is necessarily good or bad; that depends on the circumstances at hand. Generally, we can refer to that as “bias”. In particular, we recognize bias as a “mindset”. Looking deeper, note the following three aspects of mindset: • Orientation – primarily about perspective. What appears to be evident? • Predisposition – primarily about readiness. How is that pertinent to me? • Agency – primarily about ability. What can I do with it or about it? Next, note how those three aspects relate, influence, and are influenced.
  3. 3. vs. Agency (ability) Virtual: Observed option CIRCUMSTANTIAL MINDSET The language about “bias” is difficult to normalize outside of formal research. But in general, “bias” is the distance and direction that current probable awareness (for recognition) has from currently available evidence (for cognition). In each incident of experience, the perceiver considers - - with some degree of freedom from preconceived expectation -- whether a current possibility is an acceptable option. That degree can be small or large. The in-the-moment consideration is what is being examined. The factors contributing to (or “causing”) the probability of bias are usually presumptions, assumptions, and observations. Those factors are mitigated by other influences in the immediate moment such as unfamiliarity, contradiction, negotiation, demonstration, authority, or other cognitive pressures. Three major sources of those influential pressures are Needs, Intents, and Plans. Recognized (perceived) © 2020 malcolm ryder / archestra research (plan)
  4. 4. Position: Four Major Factors It is common now to consider the “practicality” of awareness as a two-sided coin: sense on the one side; and on the other, respond. The former preconditions the latter, and the latter represents the value of the former. The point here is that they are always paired. In our analysis, the consistent description or narrative of what is “practiced” has four key factors. Each of the factors represents something at stake about the position held by the person (whether actual or aspirational). In the basic narrative of “position”, perception projects opportunity, which invokes status, which affects community. However, experience shows that each of these factors readily preconditions each of the others. • PERCEPTION (Knowledge/Awareness) • OPPORTUNITY (Advantage/Leverage) • STATUS (Power/Influence) • COMMUNITY (Value/Inclusion)
  5. 5. The Cognitive Bias Table at Titlemax At Titlemax (accessible online), a well known catalog is presented called 50 Cognitive Biases. We chose to refer to this catalog because it is the largest and most detailed of many easily found on the web. Each of the 50 types of bias has a clearly distinctive definition. More importantly, each distinctive bias is also “tagged” with up to six of what our analysis sees as different contexts. Each context is a point of view or “driver” corresponding to the occurrence of the given type of bias. The Titlemax contexts are, in our analysis, labelling the circumstantial conditions in which awareness occurs: • Memory • Learning • Belief • Social • Politics • Money (held or tradeable “asset”)
  6. 6. The “stakes”: what’s being affected? Circumstantial concerns: Issue being reinforced or challenged Identity and Culture What distinguishes me among all other persons, and my group among all other groups? Authority and Expertise What makes me most able to affect other things? Influence and Vision How much is the way I see things accepted and respected? Roles and Impacts In what way do I intentionally affect things? Resources and Benefits What do I have or get that supports my efforts? Goals and Production What are my desired outcomes and accomplishments? Bias can originate in the person’s conscious or unconscious sense of what is at stake when a condition or idea presents itself. We characterize that sense as “position”. These examples of common concerns come to mind in connection with certain factors of the person’s position.
  7. 7. Position and Circumstance Narratives 1 2 3 4 5 6 Here, the narrative of psychological position cross- references the narrative of practical circumstance. In the basic narrative of “position”, perception projects opportunity, which leverages status, which affects community. In the narrative of “circumstances”, the person considers who they are and, due to that, how they get to do what they care about, in and for their organization. In the above, the listed concerns are circumstantially what is felt to be “at stake”. Each different circumstantial concern typically associates with certain position factors . In the following, we model and show each position factor as a set of influential contexts included and related by mindset factors.
  8. 8. Psychological vs. Circumstantial Influences In the following, our analysis has mapped the six contexts from the Titlemax catalog against our four major factors of a person’s position. While there are four different position factors, each position factor has a mindset that is made up of the same three factors that compose a “practical” recognition. Our point is to illustrate that the person’s “practical” recognition in the given circumstances is indicative of what they feel is at stake, which explains the propensity towards any bias. It is a psychological matter. But the same illustration shows that as differing contexts circumstantially take priority, the sense of what is being most influenced differs as well.
  9. 9. One of Six Contexts A 3rd of Six Contexts A 2nd of Six Contexts3rd of three mindset factors Practical Offer or Utility of a position factor MODELING THE STAKES: A PERSON’S POSITION FACTOR At left above: our analysis models any position factor as a combination of three contexts (bias drivers) selected from the predefined set of six contexts. Contexts are always combined (related) by the same three predefined Mindset factors. While the mindset factors are constant, they easily have unequal influence in the heat of the moment. Influence can change. Position Factors (4 types) • Perception (knowledge/awareness) • Opportunity (advantage/leverage) • Status (power/influence) • Community (value/inclusion) Mindset Factors (practical recognition) • Orientation – primarily about perspective. • Predisposition – primarily about readiness. • Agency – primarily about ability. Contexts (bias drivers) • Memory • Learning • Belief • Social • Politics • Money
  10. 10. Example Position Factor: PERCEPTION One of Six Contexts One of Six Contexts One of Six Contexts3rd of three mindset factors Model of a “Position” Factor At left above: our modeling maps six contexts (bias drivers) against the four major factors of a person’s position. In the example at right, the “Perception” position factor is modeled using three of the six available Contexts. Any context is associated (related) to another context by one of the three standard factors of Mindset. Practical Offer or Utility of a position factor MEMORY BELIEF LEARNING agency KNOWLEDGE (awareness)
  11. 11. MEMORY BELIEF LEARNING agency KNOWLEDGE (awareness) PERCEPTION MEMORY MONEY LEARNING agency ADVANTAGE (leverage) OPPORTUNITY In general, Position is what we identify as being at stake. Here, we propose the most typical contexts in Perception and Opportunity and compared them. They are very similar to each other. The critical difference revealed is that Belief highly impacts Perception, whereas emphasizing Money instead of Belief highly impacts the sense of Opportunity.
  12. 12. SOCIAL BELIEF POLITICS agency VALUE (inclusion) COMMUNITY MEMORY BELIEF LEARNING KNOWLEDGE (awareness) PERCEPTION agency The relationship of Perception and Community readily refers to Identity and Culture. Meanwhile, a change of perception can influence community, and vice-versa. 1.
  13. 13. MEMORY BELIEF LEARNING agency KNOWLEDGE (awareness) PERCEPTION SOCIAL MONEY POLITICS agency POWER (influence) STATUS The relationship of Status and Perception readily refers to Authority and Expertise. Meanwhile, a change of status can influence perception, and vice-versa. 2.
  14. 14. MEMORY BELIEF LEARNING agency KNOWLEDGE (awareness) PERCEPTION MEMORY MONEY LEARNING agency ADVANTAGE (leverage) OPPORTUNITY The relationship of Opportunity and Perception readily refers to Influence and Vision. Meanwhile, a change of opportunity can influence perception, and vice-sersa. 3.
  15. 15. SOCIAL MONEY POLITICS agency POWER (influence) STATUS SOCIAL BELIEF POLITICS agency VALUE (inclusion) COMMUNITY The relationship of Status and Community readily refers to Roles and Impacts. Meanwhile, a change of status can influence community, and vice-versa. 4.
  16. 16. MEMORY MONEY LEARNING agency ADVANTAGE (leverage) OPPORTUNITY SOCIAL BELIEF POLITICS agency VALUE (inclusion) COMMUNITY The relationship of Opportunity and Community readily refers to Resources and Benefits. Meanwhile, a change of opportunity can influence community, and vice-versa. 5.
  17. 17. MEMORY MONEY LEARNING agency ADVANTAGE (leverage) OPPORTUNITY SOCIAL MONEY POLITICS POWER (influence) STATUS agency The relationship of Opportunity and Status readily refers to Goals and Production. Meanwhile, a change of opportunity can influence status, and vice-versa. 6.
  18. 18. Cognitive Bias Indices, compared Titlemax: https://www.titlemax.com/discovery-center/lifestyle/50-cognitive-biases-to-be-aware-of-so-you-can-be-the-very-best- version-of-you/ A simple web search for “top cognitive biases” will result in a list of entries ranging from top 4, 5, 7, 12, 20, 25, or more types to consider. This apparent disparity only means that there are differences in scope and level of generality that are applied when such lists are being made. With 50 different defined types, the Titlemax table begins to seem highly specific and exhaustive. But we are nonetheless interested in the underlying dynamics of what surfaces as a “biased” mindset or behavior. The Titlemax “tagging” (which we have called “contexts”) clearly says that a given type of bias can be active in multiple different types of situations. But we have used two “narratives” to contain and convey how and why bias may surface when there is a challenge to a held or desired “position”, being processed through a mindset.
  19. 19. Cognitive Bias Indices, compared Brainytab - another categorical view: https://brainytab.com/lp/cognitive-bias-codex-search-volume/ The view from Brainytab uses four categories that organize its catalog of cognitive issues as Bias events: Memory, Utility, Quality, and Meaning. Without attempting to cross-reference the Brainytab taxonomy against the modeling we have presented as Perception, Opportunity, Status and Community, we can say that they have in common an interest in what makes information noticeable and acceptable in the moment. Brainytab’s setup offers descriptions of what is going on in a person’s mind, and those certainly at least suggest what the person feels is at stake in handling the available information one way or another. It also allows for the possibility that multiple issues may be at hand simultaneously for the person whose mental state is the subject at hand. To us, this calls out the question of how the person prioritizes the different matters they feel are at stake.
  20. 20. Archestra notebooks compile and organize decades of in-the-field empirical findings. The notes offer explanations of why things are included, excluded, or can happen in certain ways or to certain effects. The descriptions are determined mainly from the perspective of strategy and architecture. They comment on, and navigate between, the motives and potentials that predetermine the decisions and shapes of activity as discussed in the notes. As ongoing research, all notebooks are subject to change. ©2020 Malcolm Ryder / Archestra Research ©2020 Malcolm Ryder / Archestra Research www.archestra.com mryder@archestra.com

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