What Psychology says

We observe the world, and think about it but it is very important that we focus on developing our metacognition
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Psychology is the science of behaviour and it scientifically studies everyday observations and human cognitions however we show many biases while thinking and acting without even realising. Some of these are listed below:

1. Dunning–Cruger effect: The tendency of people with low skills or expertise in a specific area to overestimate their ability or knowledge. They believe they are more efficient and apt. This effect was introduced by David Dunning and Justin Kruger in 1999. They conducted a study in which subjects were administered a test and they were asked how much they would have scored; they anticipated more correct answers than they actually give. It is because novices lack metacognitive ability; they lack understanding of the nuances and the complexities of the subject matter. For instance when we appear in any competitive exam for the ist time without preparation we are more confident as compared to when we go fully prepared as goes the saying, ‘the more you know the more you realise you don’t know”. The opposite of this effect is imposter syndrome.

2. Imposter syndrome: It is a specific form of intellectual-doubt; more commonly found among high achievers. They underestimate their knowledge, skills and experience. They seek perfectionism , are victims of analysis by paralysis. They feel they don’t deserve the accomplishments they have made.

3. Curse of Knowledge effect: The term “curse of knowledge” was coined by economists Colin Cramerer, Lowenstein and Martin Weber in 1989. It is a cognitive bias in which more knowledgeable and expert persons assume that others already have basic knowledge required to understand. In other words, experts have difficulty in empathising with the challenges that novices struggle with. They unconsciously think it is as easy for others as it is for them.

4. Fan effect: It is a psychological phenomenon that defines that the more things we learn about a concept, the more time it takes to retrieve during recognition tests and so increases the error rateFor e.g a student who knows ten cognitive biases will take more time to answer the question related to cognitive biases than the student who has studied only five. Information gets mingled. This effect was introduced by cognitive psychologist, John Anderson in 1974.

5. Pygmalion effect: It is a tendency among people to perform better when better is expected from them. It has high applications in teaching and parenting. When teachers and parents encourage children and expect success from them; they work hard and succeed. It requires four elements: Proper climate, feedback, input and output. This effect was propounded by Rosenthal in 1976 and hence called Rosenthal effect also. Its opposite is Golem effect.

6. Golem Effect: It is a tendency among people to perform poor when poor performance is expected from them. For instance when teacher has lower expectations on students; as a result their performance drop as they receive negative feedback only and no encouragement or positive expectation.

7. Bystander Effect: It is a tendency among people to underestimate the emergency or someone’s need for help when others are present. Everyone thinks that others will help; as a result nobody comes forward quickly. For e.g ; a man struggling to cross a road on a busy street goes unnoticed.

8. Flynn Effect: It is an observed rise in intelligence and knowledge among people over time and across generations .For example 5year old of 2022 is more intelligent and knowledgeable than 5year old of 2010. It was propounded by a psychologist, Flynn in 1984.

9. Hawthorne Effect: It is defined as the alteration/ affectation of behaviour when a person is aware that he/she is being observed. For e.g we behave in a more conscious and disciplined manner in a park when we realise that someone is observing us.

10. Barnum Effect: It is a cognitive bias wherein we believe the generic information as if it specifically applies to us. For example believing in horoscopes, quotes on Monday borns; personality of people with my name.

11. Nocebo effect: It is a tendency to feel negative anticipated outcomes . For example a patient checks the side effects of the prescribed drugs and later starts feeling the same;

Take away: We observe the world, and think about it but it is very important that we focus on growing our metacognition; thinking about own thinking and learning. We need to reflect whether our thoughts are the resultant of logic or self fulfilling prophecy. By thinking about our thinking we may get rid of many biases. We may also learn to develop realistic self understanding and understanding of others.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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