Your biases are awesome

You should use them more

Everybody hates poor biases. They have such a bad name for no reason at all. The Cartesian bully keeps pushing biases around every time they meet on the hallways of your mind. This has to stop.

Biases are good. They help you be fast. They will help you a lot in weird, unknown geography, with scarce resources trying to survive. A lot.

Databases have internal mini programs that help manage data in the fastest possible way. A behind the scenes activity that just works, as the world keeps minding its business. These mini programs are “stored procedures”. Stored procedures draw hate too, just like biases. They get called evil. They get ignored every time, even though countless hours have gone into their design.

Biases are like the stored procedures of the brain.

And like stored procedures they have the same issues. Ancient programmers wrote them. They have been there forever and no one knows exactly how they work.

Like stored procedures they are ran by triggers.

This is what you should be aware of. Not the actual biases, not how they work, it is impossible. As shown by many studies, people informed about their bias will continue to exhibit it. But what you can pay attention to is when does the bias trigger. What happened before the bias kicked in.

Say, you hear about a divorce. You say: “I knew it all along!”. You hear Pluto is a dwarf planet do you still say “I knew it all along!”? Nope, you don’t. It is things connected to you that trigger hindsight.

This applies to almost all biases. They work for one thing: optimize the way you use and store your memory. Biases use your brain data, to respond to changes and updates in the outer world. All biases are about you and the environment and all the triggers function with this approach.

So the takeaway here is that for a less biased life just do one thing: consider you do not know anything at all. When you ignore access to your memory as a means to explain what happens, the triggers don’t fire and your biases don’t execute. Most of out of the box thinking appears from such an approach.

You can use biases too — if you realize that you can only rely on them on narrow situations. They exist to handle specific, small use cases. Just like stored procedures.