Les Cahiers de Recherche - HEC Paris
Bias Dilemma: De-Biasing and the Consequent Introduction of New Biases
Abstract: Decades of accumulated knowledge empowers our quest to
de-bias human cognition. However, I propose that improvement methods aimed
at certain biases may introduce new biases due to cognitive and situational
limitations: Such limitations give rise to simplifying and protecting
processes (SPPs), the unthorough nature of which results in biases.
De-biasing may target these processes but ultimately cannot always resolve
the underlying cognitive and situational limitations. Consequently,
de-biasing runs the risk of forcing either a switch in SPPs or an
introduction of new SPPs, thereby exposing us to the threats of new biases.
In this paper, I analyse the model of simplifying and protecting processes
and discuss promising directions of de-biasing. The model of SPPs stands in
line with extant literature on the underlying causes of cognitive bias as
well as on the methods of de-biasing, but extends them by synthesizing a
coherent theory. It contributes to the judgement and decision making
literature that seeks to answer four questions: (a) What mechanism
underlies biases? (b) How to de-bias? (c) Why does de-biasing have
limitations? (d) Where to channel de-biasing efforts so as to reduce the
unbeneficial effects of biases?
Keywords: cognitive bias; de-bias; simplifying and protecting processes; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: Z00; (follow links to similar papers)
31 pages, November 15, 2013
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