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On writing this blog

November 21 2013 , Written by Wing-Fai Thi

Science news articles and blogs are about recent discoveries.  The materials are available, being the press releases and the original articles. On the other hand, writing a blog about daily life makes that I have to be even more aware than usual of my surroundings, the people with whom I interact, and of my own behaviour. This is the raw material for my blog.

I am starting to make notes on what I have seen, did, said, or heard. In hindsight, this is starting to trouble me. I am becoming more and more conscious of people’s flaws, tics, and idiosyncrasies but also of my own. I can recall the statements I made biased by my own cognitive biases (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_bias). Cognitive biases are dangerous because they affect our way of thinking without us noticing it.

The scary thing is that as a scientist I am supposed to be trained to think correctly (or not?). At a public conference, cognitive sociologist Gérald Bronner made it clear: “Even as a cognitive scientist, I make a lot of mistakes due to my biases. The only difference I have with respect to the others is that I am aware of it”.

 

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