Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Social Biases: The Brain's Social Autopilot

This list (primarily based on scientific research) is for anyone who has ever left an interaction with another human being confused, befuddled, or bewildered:

* Actor-observer bias – the tendency for explanations of other individuals' behaviors to overemphasize the influence of their personality and underemphasize the influence of their situation (see also fundamental attribution error). However, this is coupled with the opposite tendency for the self in that explanations for our own behaviors overemphasize the influence of our situation and underemphasize the influence of our own personality.

* Egocentric bias – occurs when people claim more responsibility for themselves for the results of a joint action than an outside observer would.

* Forer effect (aka Barnum Effect) – the tendency to give high accuracy ratings to descriptions of their personality that supposedly are tailored specifically for them, but are in fact vague and general enough to apply to a wide range of people. For example, horoscopes.

* False consensus effect – the tendency for people to overestimate the degree to which others agree with them.

* Fundamental attribution error – the tendency for people to over-emphasize personality-based explanations for behaviors observed in others while under-emphasizing the role and power of situational influences on the same behavior (see also actor-observer bias, group attribution error, positivity effect, and negativity effect).

* Halo effect – the tendency for a person's positive or negative traits to "spill over" from one area of their personality to another in others' perceptions of them (see also physical attractiveness stereotype).

* Herd instinct – Common tendency to adopt the opinions and follow the behaviors of the majority to feel safer and to avoid conflict.

* Illusion of asymmetric insight – people perceive their knowledge of their peers to surpass their peers' knowledge of them.

* Illusion of transparency – people overestimate others' ability to know them, and they also overestimate their ability to know others.

* Illusory superiority – overestimating one's desirable qualities, and underestimating undesirable qualities, relative to other people. Also known as Superiority bias (also known as "Lake Wobegon effect", "better-than-average effect", "superiority bias", or Dunning-Kruger effect).

* Ingroup bias – the tendency for people to give preferential treatment to others they perceive to be members of their own groups.

* Just-world phenomenon – the tendency for people to believe that the world is just and therefore people "get what they deserve."

* Notational bias – a form of cultural bias in which the notational conventions of recording data biases the appearance of that data toward (or away from) the system upon which the notational schema is based.

* Outgroup homogeneity bias – individuals see members of their own group as being relatively more varied than members of other groups.

* Projection bias – the tendency to unconsciously assume that others share the same or similar thoughts, beliefs, values, or positions.

* Self-serving bias (also called "behavioral confirmation effect") – the tendency to claim more responsibility for successes than failures. It may also manifest itself as a tendency for people to evaluate ambiguous information in a way beneficial to their interests (see also group-serving bias).

* Self-fulfilling prophecy – the tendency to engage in behaviors that elicit results which will (consciously or not) confirm existing attitudes.[11]

* System justification – the tendency to defend and bolster the status quo. Existing social, economic, and political arrangements tend to be preferred, and alternatives disparaged sometimes even at the expense of individual and collective self-interest. (See also status quo bias.)

* Trait ascription bias – the tendency for people to view themselves as relatively variable in terms of personality, behavior and mood while viewing others as much more predictable.

* Ultimate attribution error – Similar to the fundamental attribution error, in this error a person is likely to make an internal attribution to an entire group instead of the individuals within the group.

Source: wikipedia.org

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