Experiments in cognitive science and social psychology have revealed a wide variety of biases in areas such as statistical reasoning, social attribution and memory. It’s argued these biases are common to all human beings, and some have been demonstrated to hold across very different cultures.
Cognitive biases were first identified by Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman. They claim biases are artifacts of problem-solving heuristics humans use. Recent work on cognition in other animal species reveals that some cognitive biases are not unique to humans, suggesting an evolutionary origin.
Whatever the mechanisms behind cognitive bias, we have good data to suggest that under some circumstances we all have a tendency to react in a way that seems surprising when viewed from a more detached perspective.
This post carries on from “Agilists: Metrics aren’t always harmful”.
It seems popular in the agile world to privilege personal experiences, feelings and narrative over most other forms of knowledge-sharing. These things form the only widely accepted medium for expressing knowledge. In some ways that’s good. It’s about time we started actually listening to what people have to say instead of rushing to implement Taylorist production lines, finding it isn’t working and then just doing it harder.