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← Introduction to Communication Science week 4: 4.5 Cognitive Shortcuts

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Afficher la révision 2 créée 02/11/2014 par Claude Almansi.

  1. The study of cognitive biases tells us that we
    process information subjectively.
  2. Sometimes to the extent that our perceptions
    get distorted,
  3. clouding ‘simple and objective’ facts like the
    amount of violations in a football match.
  4. Having cognitive biases is in many cases a very
    effective and healthy phenomenon
  5. because people simple can not handle balanced
    processing of all input.
  6. Can you imagine being conscious all the time of
    all your senses?
  7. You’ll probably be overwhelmed in seconds!
  8. Therefore it’s great that our mind is able to
    subconsciously make
  9. all of these processing decisions.
  10. Although we may be inclined to see biases as
    limitations,
  11. we could also view them as cognitive shortcuts
    since they speed up information processing.
  12. Perhaps the best known theory about cognitive
    biases is the theory of cognitive dissonance.
  13. Cognitive Dissonance is a theory from
    psychology that explains how people handle
  14. conflicting feelings, ideas or beliefs. I’ll explain
    with an example.
  15. Roger feels he is a well-read intellectual. His
    friends start talking about the classic book
  16. War and Peace. Everyone has read it except
    Roger.
  17. The belief that he is a well-read intellectual
    clashes with the fact that he is the only one
  18. amongst his friends who hasn’t read this
    classic.
  19. The theory predicts that Roger will try to avoid
    the discomfort of this cognitive dissonance.
  20. He can do this in three ways.
  21. 1) By making one of the discordant factors less
    important,
  22. 2) By adding new elements to his beliefs that
    make the picture fit,
  23. or, in other words, create consonance,
  24. 3) And finally by changing one clashing factors.
  25. So, to avoid cognitive dissonance Roger could
    say: Well, who cares if I’m well read.
  26. It’s not that important! Or: Not having read one
    classic hardly makes me illiterate!
  27. Or, he could create consonance by adding new
    elements to his beliefs.
  28. For instance by thinking that, being an
    intellectual,
  29. he obviously hangs out with other well-read
    intellectuals.
  30. It’s therefore not surprising that his friends have
    read the classic.
  31. Finally he could change his view: either by
    thinking
  32. 'Apparently I’m not that well-read' or thinking
  33. 'War and Peace is actually greatly
    overestimated as a work of literature'.
  34. The theory explains how people balance their
    beliefs with reality.
  35. Sometimes this can lead to enormous opinion
    changes.
  36. The classic example of this is the fable of the
    Fox and the Grapes by Aesop.
  37. In the English translation: “Driven by hunger, a
    fox tried to reach some grapes hanging high on
  38. the vine but was unable to, although he leaped
    with all his strength. As he went away,
  39. the fox remarked, 'Oh, you aren't even ripe yet! I
    don't need any sour grapes.'”
  40. Aesop sums up the moral of the story.
  41. “People who speak disparagingly of things that
    they cannot attain would do well to apply
  42. this story to themselves”. The fox had clearly
    reduced cognitive dissonance
  43. by changing his beliefs, which was the third
    option,
  44. and deciding that the grapes he had craved
    before were actually sour.
  45. On a side note, this is also the origin of the
    expression ‘sour grapes’.