The Zero-Sum Bias: When People Think that Everything is a Competition
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A cognitive bias that causes people to mistakenly believe that one party’s gains are directly balanced by other parties’ losses.
This bias encourages belief in an antagonistic nature of social relationships
For example, the zero-sum bias can cause people to think that there is competition for a resource that they feel is limited, in situations where the resource in question is actually unlimited and freely available.
It can generally be said to affect people on two scales:
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.
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