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Cognitive Bias Mitigation on the Left and the Right


DP Veteran
Aug 15, 2018
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I've recently been reading a little about cognitive biases and couldn't help but notice how often we all fall prey to these phenomena. It seems especially obvious on debate forums like this one.

We all suffer from these cognitive biases, and neither liberals nor conservatives are free from any of them as a whole, but I noticed some biases that are very common on one side or the other. For instance:

From wikipedia:

Status quo bias/system justification: "The tendency to like things to stay relatively the same." -- Classic conservative one.

Courtesy bias: "The tendency to give an opinion that is more socially correct than one's true opinion, so as to avoid offending anyone." -- I think even many liberals would agree that this is a common one to see on the left.

Normalcy bias: "The refusal to plan for, or react to, a disaster which has never happened before." -- Sounds a lot like the failure to plan for climate change.

Third-person effect: "Belief that mass communicated media messages have a greater effect on others than on themselves." -- Probably both, but liberals are notorious for ignoring conservative complaints of some liberal biases in the MSM.

Post-purchase rationalization: "The tendency to persuade oneself through rational argument that a purchase was good value." -- We all do it, but to me it stands out quite starkly in Donald Trump's die-hard base if you equate a purchase with a vote and public support.

Women are wonderful effect: "A tendency to associate more positive attributes with women than with men." -- Tend to see this in liberal movements.

Observational Selection bias: "The tendency to notice something more when something causes us to be more aware of it, such as when we buy a car, we tend to notice similar cars more often than we did before. They are not suddenly more common – we just are noticing them more." -- Republicans fall for this with illegal immigration and Democrats fall for it on gun violence. One of the primary ways we are exploited by propaganda.

And of course: Zero-sum bias: In order for me to win, you have to lose. Both sides equally guilty IMO.


There are tons more, and I didn't even get into social biases. Again, we all do them and they definitely exist on both sides, but these were my particular observations.

What biases have you noticed coming predominantly from one side or the other? Please give specific examples (no names needed) so we can be on the look out for our own biases in these areas.

Bonus points: What are some of your own worst cognitive biases?

A few of mine:
Naive cynicism
Naive realism
False consensus effect

And, of course, my signature.
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