You’ve probably heard the saying “You know what happens when you assume.” Yet despite this common warning, our past experiences lead us to assumptions that impact our decisions, both big and small, every day. It’s a tendency known as confirmation bias that causes us to interpret new situations in ways that confirm what we already know.
The halo effect happens when we favor a person based on a positive first impression. Because of how we perceive them the first time, we can convince ourselves that they can do no wrong, even when they prove otherwise. On the other hand, the horns effect happens when we define others by a negative first impression. No matter what they do, they can’t shake that first negative impression.
Blind spots happen when we allow our unconscious mind to make decisions based on this confirmation bias. It can impact where we sit, who we eat lunch with, who we turn to for advice, and who we choose to offer a helping hand. We all have blind spots, but we can also counteract our unconscious bias. Here are some ways to overcome blind spots:
1. Be open – Try not to let one shining moment or speedbump sway your opinion of someone forever.
2. Evaluate objectively – Play your own devil’s advocate and seek out contradictory views.
3. Slow down – Ask questions & bring in other perspectives to expand your point of view.
If you want to learn more about blind spots and how to challenge yourself to overcome them, check out this video from PricewaterhouseCoopers:. Consider your own blind spots and what it might mean if you chose to consciously ignore or counteract them. How would your mindset shift? How would your perspective expand?
(shared by the Diversity Committee, Residence Life, Housing and Dining Services)