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Bias & Learning

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I found the Skiing Styles & Instruction thread to be extremely educational and illustrative of some of the subtle "negative movements" in learning. I'm speaking of the biases people have that filter the information that they will "mind." Here's a short inventory of the negative learning movements that I can identify from that thread. I'm sure it's not exhaustive of all negative movements either in that thread or happening in people's minds every day:

Anchoring Bias, the tendency to anchor everything afterwards to the first thing we learn about something, someone, etc.

Unitarian Bias, the pitfall of believing there to be one right answer, when there really is only a best answer for any circumstance.

Recency Bias is our tendency to think what's new is better than what's older. Hence we tend to give more validity to the latest report from scientists regardless of the quality of the science. We buy the latest skis because of our recency bias is carefully nurtured by marketing departments.

Authority Bias, our tendency to presume that avowed experts know better than we do and can better judge the merits of an argument.

Affinity Bias is our tendency to want to listen to people who reflect our points of view.

There are more...I'm sure.
post #2 of 22
Right of Way-I'm right and your in my way.
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
Advocacy Bias: too busy formulating arguments and delivering them to listen to the other side(s) of an issue.
post #4 of 22
Fundamentally that thread is a result of two different viewpoints on what constitutes an expert skier. The major players were not even on the same page:

Measurement bias: The measure I use to define an expert skier is correct.

Which leads to the corollary:

Definition bias: My definition of "perfect" is better than your definition of "perfect".
post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thankfully, there's a great mediator of bias and that's reflection. Looking back on a conflict and trying to separate the meat from the chafe leads to understanding, i.e. learning. If that comes from the thread then it's a great success story.
post #6 of 22
I think it's a great thread! I've certainly learned a lot and had a whole bunch of notions validated. Sometimes there needs to be a certain amount of conflict to help seperate the wheat from the chaff.
post #7 of 22
To be honest, I thought the Styles thread was a little too polarized. Kinda like an argument between Rush and Al Franken, except without the humor. Same thread we seem to have every year when nobody except Disski is actually on snow.

I came to this forum years ago with the belief that Lito had all of the answers, simply because his perspective on skiing allowed me to improve greatly in a short amount of time. I was also leaning towards the PMTS system, because Lito endorses it and therefore it must be good. I asked a question about avenues that would continue what Lito had taught, and Bob Barnes and others showed me that no one person has all the answers when it comes to skiing, and that everyone should seek out the method that works for them. I ended up taking several PSIA lessons which, while cost prohibitive at my resort, made me a better skier. From there I moved to race training, which better suits my personality. Even within race training there are so many opinions of what works, so I continue to explore different viewpoints and see what approaches work for me.

When you think about it, the act of sliding down hills on sticks is a pretty silly way to spend your time. Getting overly upset about it has all the logic of a hyper-competitive little league parent.
post #8 of 22
Try reading How We Know What Isn't So, The Fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday Life, by Thomas Gilovich if you want an entertaining elaboration of nolo's short list of biases that skew perception. Another book on the same theme is Influence; Science and Practice, by Robert Cialdini. The latter is a bit more focused on sales and marketing techniques and how to resist them (and with questions at the end of each chapter I think it's intended as a supplemental text in an undergraduate behavioral psychology course).
post #9 of 22
"When you think about it, the act of sliding down hills on sticks is a pretty silly way to spend your time."

No, ARGUING about the best way to slide downhill on sticks is a silly way to spend your time! Sliding down the hill on sticks is fun.
post #10 of 22

Ditto that ant

and my ski season starts Friday!
post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mason
and my ski season starts Friday!
Pictures, we want pictures.
And video.
post #12 of 22
I think resistance to learning can be a kind of bias in itself. I mean we all probably have a tendency to defend what we understand to be true. We demand that it be tested or that challenges to it be tested and scrutinized. That is just part of attempting to build a body of understanding but there is a contrasting approach which resists any and all attacks upon the sense of stasis as if they were attacks upon the self. Some folks seem to develop in such a way as to prize their arrival rather than celebrate the journey.
post #13 of 22
Oisin--let me try to say this politely and carefully. I don't think that resistance to learning is itself a bias, although it is a result of how a couple of biases play out. On the one hand, anchoring and the tendency to filter out contrary and record in memory confirming information, as well as the tendency to associate with like minded believers, are all biases that impede learning. The bias towards accepting authority should, given responsible teachers with confirmed authority, offer a countervailing empowerment to learn.
You are certainly right that many people prize their arrival rather than celebrating their journey. On the other hand, I think that willingness to let one's beliefs be tested and scrunitized, and relishing the process, is a real high culture trait that isn't very common (i.e., less colloquially, it is contrary to the bias most of us bring to our daily lives).
post #14 of 22
yes - huge tendency to hang onto "what we already know to be true" is easily seen in most peoples everyday lives.....

I work doing contracts at the moment & you can see it in every work place.... any discussion of alternative work practices is an automatic red rag to most people ...... the few, more free thinking individuals stand out like sore thumbs.....

I remember being tested by some bunch purporting to be helping manage change.... I freaked out the tester because my answers were so ammenable to change they thought I knew the test & had wangled the result....
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by ant
No, ARGUING about the best way to slide downhill on sticks is a silly way to spend your time! Sliding down the hill on sticks is fun.
I have fun being silly.
post #16 of 22
I work doing contracts at the moment & you can see it in every work place.... any discussion of alternative work practices is an automatic red rag to most people ...... the few, more free thinking individuals stand out like sore thumbs.....

I remember being tested by some bunch purporting to be helping manage change.... I freaked out the tester because my answers were so ammenable to change they thought I knew the test & had wangled the result....

We've got a live one. Good on you disski. I guess "change" is accepted if it fits your view window.
post #17 of 22

Who Moved My Cheese?

Who Moved My Cheese is a good, short book about change and resistance. Bias is all about willingness and resistance to change. We have a couple of people here, that are heavy into dealing with change and resistance. As a matter of fact, I've been trying to affect a change in a corporate culture, that effects a few hundred people. People won't learn a new tool that would save them huge amounts of time, simply because "they've always done it this way", and "I don't have time to learn the new tools".

Some of this resistance comes from one that hasn't been mentioned here yet: Pride of ownership. This tool I'm trying to implement would replace a ton of Excel spreadsheets that people use, but because they built the spreadsheets themselves, (they "own" them), they don't want to give them up. It also falls along the lines of familiarity. In general, corporations have huge problems with change.

Although, to put it in skiing terms, look at the resistance that most people had toward skis with more sidecut. I think that some of that resistance comes from fear of failure and extrinsic values. People are afraid that if they are already a good skier, they may look less experienced if they get out on different equipment and take a fall or just simply struggle for a while, while they learn how to use the new equipment. These are the people that you see get visibly pissed off when they fall, as if falling is something they are too good to do.
post #18 of 22
"they've always done it this way", and "I don't have time to learn the new tools".

Pretty lame excuses.
post #19 of 22
Bipolar bias - The tendency to see everything in extremes, black & white, good & evil. Usually exhibited by the tendency to accept only one answer to a problem as valid.

NIH bias - Not Invented Here - Belief in the superiority of an institution's creativity that leads to the discounting of ideas from other places. Can lead to perverse mutations due to inbreeding.
post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Can lead to perverse mutations due to inbreeding.
That's a great way of putting it, Rio.
post #21 of 22
!Computer Operator Warning! Do not drink and read chatline threads. Possible choking and spewing of beverages on to keyboard,screen,desk,ect.: : :
post #22 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by sno'more
Oisin--let me try to say this politely and carefully. I don't think that resistance to learning is itself a bias, although it is a result of how a couple of biases play out.
Thanks for being polite. The Bias I was referring to is the bias many seem to have for believing what they already know or think they know to be true over what they might learn by being open to other information. I find this often to be characteristic of people's political beleifs, for example. Its as if having thought to a point sufficient to come to a conclusion many are unwilling to think any more. Certain beleifs seem to take on the characteristics of religious beleif as if they had been invested with the person's faith. Its a phenomenon that often seems to perplex those who are dealing with the issues in a critical way. They often find themselves the target of surprising hostility, even vicious personal attacks that seem unreasonable and out of proportion to the nature of the issue(s) by those protecting their biased point of view.
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