A cognitive bias is a pattern of deviation in judgment, whereby inferences about other people and situations may be drawn in an illogical fashion. Individuals create their own “subjective social reality” from their perception of the input. An individual’s construction of social reality, not the objective input, may dictate their behaviour in the social world. Thus, cognitive biases may sometimes lead to perceptual distortion, inaccurate judgment, illogical interpretation, or what is broadly called irrationality.
Some cognitive biases are presumably adaptive. Cognitive biases may lead to more effective actions in a given context. Furthermore, cognitive biases enable faster decisions when timeliness is more valuable than accuracy, as illustrated in heuristics. Other cognitive biases are a “by-product” of human processing limitations, resulting from a lack of appropriate mental mechanisms (bounded rationality), or simply from a limited capacity for information processing.
Written on wikipedia, it looks so straightforward. So logical. But understanding it is not the same as living With it. Seeing that People judge others for several reasons, helps, but it still hurts to BE judged. In normal circumstances we judge everything all the time, but what about judgment in the Health service? What irks me is how the People who`ve read page after page about cognitive biases and heuristics, still fall into the judgement trap without realizing it. Not that I don`t do, myself. We all do, no matter how we try not to. But still, shouldn`t it be more panic rooms available, more safety nets to protect us from human fallibility? Let us take an example: Someone is diagnosed With schizophrenia. Suddenly the Person is not just a Person. He or she is the “Person With Schizophrenia”. Suddenly everything the person does will be interpreted in the light of that diagnosis. If things don`t work out, it might because they have a serious mental illness, if it does, it must be because they have some special resources. Expectation are based on what we know about schizophrenia as a groups. Most Health Professionals are taught to always keep their eyes open, so that we don`t fall into judgment traps. But we still do and often there is no rope to haul us back up. We need constant reminders so that we don`t fall into those traps too often. And when we do, we need to see it. Because judgement is the opposite of seeing. Without others to correct us, everything is dark.