Group vs. Individual Assessment Bias

Group vs. Individual Bias

How can group vs individual decision making be so different? Don’t think this is the case? Maybe you’ve heard something like this:

“We’re all underperforming, … except for me — and my team.”

I hear this almost as many times as I ask the question, “How’s performance?”

You know the story: A leader takes a stand declaring the obvious, “we’re underperforming…”, while protecting him or herself and compatriots, “except for me and my team.”

This is probably the most pervasive and frustrating psychological bias I come across in the work environment; evaluating and/or treating individuals differently from groups. It happens ALL the time.

But you can use this bias to influence an entire organization.

Continue reading “Group vs. Individual Assessment Bias”

What is Bias?

Woman with hands held to eyes to create hand goggles is an illustration of bias at work

In psychology, ‘bias’ refers to predictable errors in perception. Here’s a simplified explanation of how bias works.

To start, everything we experience ‘beyond our skin’ is initially registered via our senses. After we sense something we begin to process it using our central nervous system, or brain (roughly speaking). This second process, resulting from the reception of the sensing process, is generally referred to as perception.

Once we perceive the input from our senses, a lot of “stuff” happens. Some of it is fully aware to us (i.e., conscious), some of it is not (i.e., unconscious). Whether conscious or unconscious, our brains actively interpret our (tasted, heard, seen, etc.) environment.

The interesting truth is: We don’t always interpret the “objective” world accurately. (We can know this because two people can perceive the same stimulus in different ways. If their is a ‘Truth”, both can’t be right; right?)

Continue reading “What is Bias?”

How about a little science with that intuition?

Psychology and intuition

We’re all practicing psychologists — aren’t we? With our uncanny insight and intuition we’re able to ‘read’ another person in a mere 10 seconds. (This is, in fact, what research reveals about employment interviews). We know ourselves, and we know others. As a matter of fact, it’s intuitive — so simple we can do it with almost no thought. Therefore: We never make mistakes when assessing ourselves or others.

But everyone else does. Right? Consider the bias at work here (Hint: Fundamental attribution error).

Intuition is NOT the same as insight. Though insight can come from many sources (e.g., dreams, experiences, reading) in this case I’m referring to the insight that comes as a result of either deductive or inductive reasoning. And the best logic starts with facts.

Why I’m doing this

I’ve started this blog to share insights from psychological research and my own experience applying psychology in the workplace to let you in on some of the most predictable truths you can use to understand and change yourself and others. This is about understanding intuition – its risks and benefits. But in order to understand intuition, like any phenomenon, we need to turn to a proven, reliable and valid source. This is about science and fact.

Where much of what we know or learn is informed almost completely on the methods of scientific research, this is not the case with psychology. Perhaps it’s because we only know the world by the function of psychology — everything we sense or experience must flow through a myriad of brain cells and nerves. Psychology is not only a topic for scientific study, it’s an inextricable part of any and all science. But the challenge with the study of psychology is especially difficult and even the best scientific research of psychology can’t reveal the level of understanding typically obtained by research in other fields (e.g., physics, chemistry, biology and physiology, etc.).

I don’t intend this to be an academic journal. But I will cite proper scientific research or share personal experience lending reasonably valid support to my posts. My goal is to publish articles in layman’s terms explaining complex phenomena. Some of these will be more appealing for the way I present myself in writing (i.e., they may not be particularly revealing in terms of the knowledge they generate) others will be more educational to the average reader. And, some will be more theoretical while others will be more practical. “There’s something for everyone” is what I would like for a critic to say about the collection of these writings.

I hope you find them helpful.

Psychways is owned and produced by Talentlift, LLC.

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