Critical thinking is the intellectually discipline process of skillfully evaluating information by observing




Critical thinking is the intellectually discipline process of skillfully evaluating information by observing, analyzing the logic connection between ideas. Rational decision making and judgment are affected by certain ways of thinking which are mostly studied within the psychological community. These different ways of effected thinking are referred to as cognitive biases in the community. Cognitive bias is a systematic error that affects the way people process information therefore affecting the decision and judgments we make. They are as result of human brain trying to make information processing simple. There are different types of cognitive bias including confirmation bias, authority bias and egocentric bias. Human being experience different bias without even noticing them and they affect our lives in different ways. We should be careful on how and what we are thinking of before jumping into a situation to avoid being bias to be good critical thinkers.

We have confirmation bias. Nickerson (1998) this is the type of bias that validates what we were already believe which normally is how human beings function. People go with what they believe and dismiss the ones that do not matter to us to avoid information that may disapprove what we think. For example, social media has a way of making fake news seem real. We are living in an era that rely a lot on what is published on the media. We do not know how to differentiate what is true and what is fake. We believe what is published, “Fake news.”

Then there is the Dunning-Kruger effect where people see a certain event to be simple because their knowledge of it is simple. According to Dunning (2011) Human being believe that the less you know about something, the less complicated it is and they do not have the urge to explore their idea. This bias makes people think that they are smarter than they appear to look. As an example, I have a friend of mine who is good at playing chess but overestimates himself. Due to this, he looks down on other contestants during a chess tournament. It is hard to convince such a person who lacks self-awareness that the rest are also good.

Another one is the in group bias. People support and believe the people they share the same social group with than an outsider Yamagisi et al. (1998). This bias favors people we personally know and want to help. Most employers go with this type of bias. They do not consider outsiders during hiring or promotion in jobs. They go with people they know such as friends or relatives even when they are less qualified or less deserving of the job or position. It difficult to convince such people otherwise but I hope that in future, there will be a better method to get employed and reduce in-group bias.

There is also the self-serving bias. The definition of this bias id the tendency to believe our own perspective or have a higher about ourselves than reality. My ego plays a big role when it comes to this type of bias. I do things thinking that I know best than my friends. The other day we went out for bowling. I am a professional bowler and due to this I always look down on my friends. We placed a bet and I took the money before the game begun and put it in my pocket only to be ashamed when two of my friends performed better than me. It was at this point that I realized that I was self-bias disregarding how good my friends were.

The availability bias which is also known as the heuristic bias. According to Tversky and Kahneman (1973), it is the tendency of using information that we can access easily when assessing a topic or idea. As a result we shut the information we can easily remember as effective, and ignore alternative solutions. We are aware that traveling by air is faster and much safer than road but humans are generally afraid of flights because of accidents which are very rare to occur compared to roads. We are afraid that once the plane crashes, chances of surviving are next to nil and forget that it is among the safest means of transport.

Least but not last, fundamental attribution error. This bias attributes a person to specific behaviors to existing or personality based explanation for behaviors observed in others while lacking to emphasize situational explanation Harman (1999). Human beings have a tendency of judging situation. When someone walks into a meeting late, we do not bother to hear their explanation instead judge them by specific behaviors such as lazy. If we listened to their explanation, they might prove us wrong. However, when you are running late because of traffic or illness, you expect others to attribute the situation to external factor than your personal behavior.

Hindsight bias is all also referred to as knew-it-all-along. This is when people view situations to be more predictable after they take place Stahlberg et al. (1995). This makes people to overestimate their ability to predict a situation beforehand even though it would not have led them to the correct outcome or given them the best results. In sports mostly, people are overconfident in teams or athletes who normally perform well and use this to predict the future results which at times end up not going according to their expectation. I have personally been bias with football teams and in the end they did not perform how I expected them to.

Achoring Bias according to Kahneman etal. (2011) is when we rely on the first information that we have acquired from evaluating something. What you learn early has a big impact on the information that you get later on. We grow up learning different information like how we pronounce the vocabulary or how we read certain words. It is difficult to change this information at a later period. We are accustomed to certain ways of life that changing them in the future is difficult. I struggle with uttering some words correctly because of how I acquired them in the beginning.

Even though biases are sometimes hard to avoid, there are different ways to reduce them and they include, awareness. To be able to prevent cognitive bias from influencing the way you think or make decision, is by being aware that they exist. Critical thinking and bias do not go hand in hand. Therefore if we are aware of factors that alter the way we experience or view things, we know the correct way to approach an issue. This will enable us to know how to think when forming an opinion or judging a situation.

The second example is to challenge our beliefs. Once we are aware that our thinking is very biased, we should challenge our thoughts and our beliefs. When we receive new information, our first reaction should be to challenge the information. This will expand our knowledge and enable us be in a better position to judge a situation. Lastly, we should try a blind approach to situation. Instead of assuming a situation and starting to be bias with it, we need to research information regarding a specific subject well so that we can make less affected decisions.

In conclusion, biases are flaws in our thinking that mostly lead to inaccurate conclusion. They make us overlook important information or situation and instead focus too much on non-important information. It is not easy to get rid of cognitive biases but we can improve our ability to look at situations and access their vulnerability. By learning how to avoid being bias, slowly our decision making process, dealing with each other, we can reduce the chances of experiencing cognitive bias that can cause harm or lead us astray.


Dunning, D. (2011). The Dunning–Kruger effect: On being ignorant of one’s own ignorance. In Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 44, pp. 247-296). Academic Press.

Harman, G. (1999, January). Moral philosophy meets social psychology: Virtue ethics and the fundamental attribution error. In Proceedings of the Aristotelian society (pp. 315-331). Aristotelian Society.

Kahneman, D., Lovallo, D., & Sibony, O. (2011). Before you make that big decision.

Nickerson, R. S. (1998). Confirmation bias: A ubiquitous phenomenon in many guises. Review of general psychology, 2(2), 175-220.

Stahlberg, D., Eller, F., Maass, A., & Frey, D. (1995). We knew it all along: Hindsight bias in groups. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 63(1), 46-58.

Tversky, A., & Kahneman, D. (1973). Availability: A heuristic for judging frequency and probability. Cognitive psychology, 5(2), 207-232.

Yamagishi, T., Jin, N., & Miller, A. S. (1998). In‐group bias and culture of collectivism. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 1(3), 315-328.