What Cognitive Bias Are You?

 

What Cognitive Bias are you? 

This short and intuitive Cognitive Bias Quiz will tell you your most prominent Cognitive Bias and supply you with the knowledge to beat your Bias and unlock a creative mindset. Click START below to find out!


 

 

What are Cognitive Biases?

Cognitive Biases are our mind's shortcuts that play out in our everyday lives. They save our brain's energy and prevent us from having to critically think about every action we take. For example, when you are driving your car and see a red light, your foot automatically goes to the brake. You don't have to consciously think, "Red light means stop so I need to take my right foot off the gas pedal, place it on the brake pedal, and slowly apply pressure until the car comes to a complete stop." Your brain is on autopilot, completing the steps for you based on previous experiences. 

During innovation, Cognitive Biases can get in the way. Through awareness, however, we can mitigate their effects and maximize our creative potential. A major thinking technique that battles Biases is our own Forness® Thinking model. For a more in depth look at how these Cognitive Biases play out in the workplace, check out our book Outsmart Your Instincts: How the Behavioral InnovationTM Approach Drives Your Company Forward. For a quick introduction, continue reading below. 

The 8 Major Cognitive Biases

1. Availability Bias

  • What is it?
    • Availability Bias affects decision making by only using what information comes to mind most readily.
  • Example
    • If I had eggs for breakfast this morning and you told me to list off as many breakfast foods as I could, eggs would likely be the first on my list.
  • Battling the Bias During Innovation
    • Call Availability Bias lazy or call it efficient, but don’t let it kill your creativity. While innovating, take the time to consider all possible pathways and solutions and you will unlock your true creative capacity.

2. Confabulation

  • What is it?
    • The mind habitually makes decisions intuitively and subconsciously, but after the fact, the conscious mind justifies the decision with reason. Most of the time that reason has nothing to do with the reason you made your decision in the first place. This is known as Confabulation.
  • Example
    • Let’s say I pick the Patriots to win the Super Bowl, but when they are down big in the 4th quarter I get mad at myself for choosing them. Then they come back to win in dramatic fashion and I claim I never doubted them for a second. It’s not true, but my mind is tricking me into thinking that I never had any doubts.
  • Battling the Bias During Innovation
    • While innovating, the key to conquering Confabulation is through the Power of Projection. Simply put yourself in someone else’s shoes (literally anyone!) and ask yourself what they might think given your situation.

3. Confirmation Bias

  • What is it?
    • Confirmation Bias is the tendency to favor information that supports existing beliefs and ignore information that contradicts those beliefs. It affects how we search, interpret, and remember information.
  • Example
    • If I think Game of Thrones is the greatest TV show of all time, I will immediately dismiss any information that says otherwise, while openly embracing information that confirms my beliefs.
  • Battling the Bias During Innovation
    • Outcompete this Bias by not only searching for what you want to find, but also searching for what you don’t necessarily want to find. Look where you previously have not and your potential for creativity will take a massive leap forward.

4. Conformity Bias

  • What is it?
    • Conformity Bias is the tendency for a homogenous consensus among a group, despite what each person individually thought beforehand.
  • Example
    • If everyone at work thinks an idea is great, I am more likely to go along with it, despite not liking the idea myself. I am simply going with the flow.
  • Battling the Bias During Innovation
    • During an ideation session, writing down your ideas before the group shares theirs will prevent people from conforming, and prevent the Bias from curbing creativity.

5. Curse of Knowledge

  • What is it?
    • The Curse of Knowledge is where we assume people know more about a topic than they actually do, especially once we gain expert level knowledge of the subject matter. It makes it difficult to take someone else's perspective.
  • Example
    • Sometimes a brief video is better than a brief paragraph.
  • Battling the Bias During Innovation
    • In the end, it’s what you think you know that keeps you from innovating, so don’t let this Bias deter your creative edge. Keep an open mind and never assume (because we all know what happens when you assume).

6. Framing

  • What is it?
    • Framing is the way individuals, groups, and societies organize, perceive, and communicate about their reality. It influences how we perceive and act in any given situation.
  • Example
    • Would you rather have a situation where 137 people die out of 416 total, or 279 people live out of 416 total? Most people prefer the case where 279 people live, despite both outcomes being equivalent.
  • Battling the Bias During Innovation
    • Just like the framework of a house determines how it is built, the framework of the mind determines perception. When it comes to problem solving, reframing the question is the best way to come across a completely novel answer. After all, the same house can’t be built with different frameworks, so make a new blueprint!

7. Negativity Bias

  • What is it?
    • Negativity Bias causes negative events to have a more prominent effect on someone, even when there are positive events of equal magnitude.
  • Example
    • If I am preparing to purchase a new TV, I will look at the reviews. After reading many 4 and 5-star reviews, I come across a 2-star review saying that there were HDMI connectivity issues. The 2-star review sticks in my head more, despite the positive reviews outnumbering the negative, so I search for another TV.
  • Battling the Bias During Innovation
    • Don’t let Negativity Bias consume your creativity. It is vital to keep negativity out of the room while generating ideas and innovating. A positive environment will keep the creative juices pumping, leading to more visionary ideas and the most creative final concept.

8. Status Quo Bias

  • What is it?
    • The Status Quo Bias defaults decision making to keeping things the same, and leads us to not endorse new ideas. In other words, we think, "the old ideas have always worked, why change them?"
  • Example
    • I can drive to work in 25 minutes. I’ve gotten into the habit of taking the same route every day because 25 minutes isn’t long. When one of my coworkers points out that I can shave off 5 minutes of travel-time, I’m intrigued. However, I still find myself taking the 25-minute route because it is what I have always done and has never failed me.
  • Battling the Bias During Innovation
    • With the Status Quo Bias, there can’t be innovation. We need to be constantly breaking out of the comfort zone and accepting ideas that push the limits to get a truly revolutionizing concept. Don't settle for what you have, always look ahead and predict what you will need.

These are some of the most common Cognitive Biases that interfere with our abilities to innovate. In order for new and innovative ideas to become a reality, these Biases need to be outsmarted through awareness. Download our one-page Cognitive Bias cheat-sheet below to help recognize the Biases whenever they arise.  

Download the Cognitive  Bias Cheat-Sheet

If you liked this quiz, try these out!

Tyler Thompson

Tyler Thompson is a Marketing and Research Analyst at Ideas To Go, an innovation agency that works with Fortune 500 companies in ideation and concept development to incorporate the voice of the consumer.