Cognitive Brain and Its Development in the Human Brain

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If faced with a dire decision to be made within but a fraction of second, could this action be trusted to be rational and logical? The fallible brain, when faced with such situations, tends to take mental shortcuts to determine dire decisions and judgments based on the context of information the brain is given. These mental shortcuts or cognitive biases, cause the decision-making process to be faster but cannot be relied upon for objectivity. Usually, the brain prefers not to take the time to adequately assess the situation at hand in order to make a decision. This is how cognitive biases form, which can be detrimental to one’s situation. These biases impair an individual’s judgment, causing them to produce ill-fated decisions based in subjectivity.

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All humans alike struggle to produce creative but practical solutions in which is needed to go about tackling problematic situations that occur as well as complex dilemmas. For one to completely trust their decision and resolution, he/she must use a rational thought process in order to produce the soundest possible output. However, what defines a “rational thought” differs from person to person. In accordance with Analytic Processes for School Leaders “Rational thinking is the ability to consider the relevant variables of a situation and to access, organize, and analyze relevant information (e.g., facts, opinions, judgments, and data) to arrive at a sound conclusion” (Richetti and Tregoe). In this context, rationality represents the human ability to think without bias and consider all present possibilities. In order to preserve consistency, this will be the definition of rationality used throughout this essay.

The premise of cognitive bias is inherently irrational. Cognitive biases cause repetitive irrational acts due to subconscious desires for certain answers and decisions. The most common of such biases is confirmation bias, which represent the tendency to interpret information in a way that confirms one’s prior beliefs and omit information that challenges one’s prior beliefs; it is a bias created from an individual’s refusal to accept that he/she is wrong. This can be frequently observed within elections, in which voters merely accept relevant pleasant information about a given politician while refusing to accept anything considered vile information on the politician. Conservatism bias, much like confirmation bias, is a popular bias among individuals. Conservatism is the disposition to refuse to compromise one’s own beliefs when given further information. When given one complex solution and one easily explained solution, many select the easily explained solution. People do not want to accept what he/she does not understand. As Thoreau once put it “[a] man receives only what he is ready to receive...” (Thoreau).

When faced with critical decisions, individuals must tackle his/hers cognitive biases; to undergo this, one must utilize multiple objective sources of information in order to prevent bias from causing an irrational judgment. If an individual discovers themselves ignoring information that is hard to comprehend or extract bits of data to confirm prejudice while dismissing other data then it might be time to take a better look at things. One must take the time to seek for an opposing opinion and not merely dismiss information just because it may prove them to be wrong. The most effective way to approach one’s own bias is to ask questions that oppose their beliefs. The ethical thing to do when one cannot comprehend information provided is to go to someone else who does understand it and ask their opinion. Many refuse to accept when he/she does not comprehend something but he/she does not realize that he/she can begin to understand by convincing someone to explain it to them.

Cognitive bias is used by the human brain subconsciously and can lead to irrational behavioral decisions causing misconception in information and judgment. Everyone is susceptible to cognitive biases; however, if one can recognize when he/she is using a cognitive bias then he/she can then begin to confront it. Recognizing a bias is as simple as understanding the actions that one is taking and, from there, start to analyze information from all aspects and ask the viewpoints of a third party. Examining information from both standings related to a given subject could help one avoid the most common cognitive bias. The better one is at comprehending all the information and perspectives of a situation, the more sound the solution will be.

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