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Self Improvement

How to reduce your egocentric bias

  • Use self-distancing language: for e.g,  instead of thinking “what should I do”, think “what should you do”/“what should [your name] do”.
  • Try to see things from someone else’s viewpoint, or you can try to see things from a generalized external perspective.
  • Become aware of your innate tendency to focus on yourself.

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The egocentric bias

It is a cognitive bias that causes people to rely too much on their own point of view when they examine or remember events in their life.

This means that people tend to either underestimate how different other people’s viewpoint is from their own, or to ignore other people’s viewpoint entirely.

  • When you are giving a public talk, you assume that your nervousness is more apparent to others than is actually the case.
  • You overestimate the amount of work that you contributed to a group project.
  • You might believe that your colleagues all share your political beliefs and social values.
  • You might remember yourself as having been the key player in a past event, despite the fact that you only played a relatively minor role in it.

It occurs primarily due to the fact that we tend to naturally examine and remember events primarily through our personal point of view.

Even when we realize that we should adjust our perspective to see things through other people’s eyes, we tend to anchor this new perspective to our own, and we often fail to adjust from our original viewpoint enough to properly assess how other people feel.

... on the likelihood that a person will experience the egocentric bias:

  • Age: it appears that adolescents and older adults display increased egocentricity compared to young and middle-aged adults.
  • The number the languages spoken: bilinguals appear to be less likely to experience the egocentric bias than monolinguals.

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RELATED IDEAS

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IDEAS

Since we spend the majority of the time experiencing things from our own perspective, we struggle to imagine the perspective of others.

The curse of knowledge is a cognitive bias that makes it difficult for people to account for the fact that other people’s thoughts, beliefs, and views are different from their own.

To reduce the degree to which you experience the zero-sum bias, you need to identify cases where you assume that a certain situation is zero-sum, and then assess the situation rationally in order to identify whether it is actually zero-sum, which you can do, for example, by asking yourself whether a resource under consideration is truly limited.

  • Slow down your reasoning process. Let some time pass between the point at which you encounter social cues and the point at which you make a final decision on something.
  • Set up optimal conditions for decision making. Choose to only make a certain decision when you’re by yourself.
  • Consider alternative options. Think about alternative options that you can choose beyond the one that is adopted by the majority.

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