Bias Blind Spot

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Ah, it’s that time of year again. Pumpkin spice everything, apple cider, political elections… And of course, with elections come those discussions we all know and love about how _______ party is full of it and _______ party has all the answers. Having a conversation with someone with different beliefs than you is often an exercise in futility, with one of you insisting that the other one doesn’t know jack. One of the reasons that we may engage with others this way is bias blind-spot. Bias blind spot is the tendency to easily recognize bias in others, but an inability to recognize it in ourselves. In a group of studies, participants rated themselves as less susceptible to biases than other people, were more likely to consider their assessments of themselves as objective even after being told they could be biased, and were more likely to say that other people’s attributions about performance on a test were biased, but that their own attributions were not (1). So next time you pull onto condescension highway, check your bias blind spot first.

1. Pronin, E., Lin, D.Y., & Ross, L. (2002). The bias blind spot: Perceptions of bias in self versus others. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 28(3), 369-381.

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