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Linda Rising on Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow, Ethics and Overcoming Biases

| Podcast with Linda Rising Follow 3 Followers by Shane Hastie Follow 28 Followers on Oct 01, 2018 |

In this podcast Shane Hastie, Lead Editor for Culture & Methods, spoke to Linda Rising about Daniel Kahneman’s work on Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow, overcoming bias in the employment process and resisting social pressure in decision making.

Key Takeaways

  • Daniel Kahneman’s book Thinking Fast Thinking Slow based on the research he did with Amos Tversky into how the human brain works, for which Kahneman win the 2011 Nobel Prize for Economics, is hard to read.  Linda wants to make the ideas more accessible  
  • One part is known as System One – the part that reacts quickly, never sleeps, where our cognitive biases reside and is the home of our expertise
  • The second part known as System Two is the conscious mind, somewhat associated with the prefrontal cortex, it is the part that sleeps and wakes and where considered decision making happens
  • In the hiring process, and other important decisions, it is vital to involve more than one person because awareness of the possibility of bias enables you to question each other’s decision-making process and invoke System Two to examine decisions more objectively
  • Social pressure results in biases being reinforced, but a single dissenting voice can and des change the direction of bad decision making
  • 0:27 Introductions
  • 1:14 Referencing the book Thinking Fast Thinking Slow and how it is hard to read but has important messages that need to be conveyed
  • 2:12 The research which went into that book as an example of effective pairing
  • 3:08 Linda has been working on communicating the ideas from the book into concrete suggestions and advice
  • 4:03 The essential model of the mind as two systems, not mapped to the brain regions.  One part is known as System One – the part that reacts quickly, never sleeps, where our cognitive biases reside and is the home of our expertise
  • 6:48 The second part known as System Two is the conscious mind, somewhat associated with the prefrontal cortex, it is the part that sleeps and wakes
  • 7:24 About 25% of the energy we take in goes to run System Two
  • 7:29 System Two is the limited, scientific, analytical part of the brain which responds much slower than System One
  • 7:50 We see System Two as the place where thinking happens, we are not aware of System One
  • 8:03 System One reactions are often what we describe as “gut feelings” or intuition – the unconscious
  • 8:25 Quoting Allan Cooper – “gut feeling is your biases in action”
  • 8:31 System One is also where expertise is exhibited, it never forgets
  • 9:04 System Two struggles with remembering, but System One never forgets
  • 9:17 System One is inaccessible – we cannot consciously communicate with it
  • 9:25 We are at the beginning stages of understanding how the mind works
  • 10:12 Elements of ethics in IT
  • 10:52 Exploring the evidence that culturally diverse teams are more effective – is only true for Western culture
  • 11:14 What is the nature of the organisation “infrastructure” that the team is working in?
  • 11:44 Including more women on a team has been shown to be more effective, however teams made up solely of women are not as effective
  • 12:05 In Western cultures there are measurable benefits from wide diversity in teams
  • 12:14 Addressing ways to ensure more diverse candidates get hired
  • 12:22 System One results in us making assumptions about people as soon as we meet them based on our existing biases
  • 13:12 The influencing factors about liking someone from System One are unknowable  
  • 13:46 Once System One has decided we like someone then it kicks in confirmation bias and objective results will be filtered through confirmation bias
  • 14:40 You need to ensure that you involve enough people in the hiring process so that confirmation bias is exposed, and System Two thinking can kick in to critically examine the decision process
  • 15:15 Pairing and Mobbing as practices to help bring System Two thinking to the fore
  • 15:25 Two brains make the probability that you will have the same set of biases less likely
  • 15:44 Awareness of the possibility of bias enables you to question each other’s decision-making process and invoke System Two to examine your decisions more objectively
  • 16:14 System Two can, and sometimes should, counter System One responses
  • 16:42 It’s hard to do this on your own, but other people can always see our biases
  • 17:20 Work together with the understanding that your intent is to help each other make better decisions
  • 18:08 How does this play out with ethics and group behaviours?  There is research that shows that  in groups who share biases the group process amplifies existing biases – group decisions will be worse skewed towards the negative expression of that bias (extremist views will prevail)
  • 19:20 The “echo chamber” impact – we only hear from people who are “just like us” so there is no counter argument to engage System Two thinking
  • 20:13 Actively seek out someone who doesn’t agree with you and listen to them
  • 21:06 Solomon Asch social pressure/conformity experiment
  • 23:08 How this plays out in business meetings and group settings
  • 23:47 If just one person questions speaks up then the social pressure is overcome 
  • 24:58 The key is being aware that social pressure exists and that one dissenting voice can break the impact of the pressure – be the one to speak up
  • 25:52 You probably have more power than you think
  • 26:13 One voice can and does make a difference

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