It’s funny how quickly things change.
Just last month every time I’d see someone not wearing a mask, I would have a visceral reaction to them that told me to stay away.
Now that people who have been fully vaccinated can go maskless, I have the same exact reaction to the people wearing masks.
The interesting part is there’s no logical reason I should have reversed my reactions. I have no reason to believe that 100% of the people who are not wearing masks are fully vaccinated. Especially, considering the number of people who simply refused to wear masks prior to a vaccine being available.
There’s also no reason to be more suspect of people wearing masks. On one hand it shows they at least care enough about the people around them to take steps to protect others and on the other, there’s no way for me to know if they are vaccinated or not.
The only thing that’s changed is that I’m fully vaccinated, and I’ve stopped wearing a mask in the places that don’t require them.
I know it’s a cognitive bias at work. I’m well aware of cognitive biases. I’ve written about them – a lot.
I point them out – especially at family gatherings – a lot.
But that’s the thing about them. You can know about them. You can
recognize them, but they still have an
effect on you.
In fact, you can probably attribute most of my musings to the Dunning-Kruger Effect, which happens when you reduce complex ideas down to a simplistic understanding based on the limitations of your knowledge about the complex idea.
You can also attribute my oversimplification of things to the fact I don’t write books. I write short little blocks of text that most people can read in under two minutes.
It’s worth noting most of the books written about cognitive biases probably suffer from the Dunning-Kruger Effect.
Here’s a list of a few other biases, that I’m well aware of, but still fall victim to:
• Anchoring bias – This happens when you rely too heavily on the first piece of information you learn about something instead of evenly evaluating all the information on a topic and only keeping the best. This usually happens to me when I’m on a deadline and I’m waiting until the absolute last minute to get a project done.
• Pessimism/Optimism bias – This happens when we make decisions about the possible outcome of a situation based on our mood. I tend to land on the more pessimistic side of things, but it’s something to keep in mind.
• Availability heuristic – This happens when you rely on the first piece of information you can remember or find to form an argument about an issue. I’m bad about this, because it’s easier.