Natural Rationality | decision-making in the economy of nature


Perception and misperception of bias in human judgment

Perception and misperception of bias in human judgment

Emily Pronina

Human judgment and decision making is distorted by an array of cognitive, perceptual and motivational biases. Recent evidence suggests that people tend to recognize (and even overestimate) the operation of bias in human judgment – except when that bias is their own. Aside from the general motive to self-enhance, two primary sources of this ‘bias blind spot’ have been identified. One involves people's heavy weighting of introspective evidence when assessing their own bias, despite the tendency for bias to occur nonconsciously. The other involves people's conviction that their perceptions directly reflect reality, and that those who see things differently are therefore biased. People's tendency to deny their own bias, even while recognizing bias in others, reveals a profound shortcoming in self-awareness, with important consequences for interpersonal and intergroup conflict.