2 jun. 2011

Another Cognitive Bias

There is a cognitive bias that I'm not sure has a formal name. It is similar to the concept of "professional deformation." Basically, it is the bias toward one's own intellectual framework. An economist who sees everything in economic terms. A linguist who views everything as basically a problem of language, etc... In short, it is the tendency to overestimate the power of one's own academic discipline to explain everything. A kind of intellectual overreaching.

6 comentarios:

Sarang dijo...

I would like to know if there's a term for this, I call it the hammer-and-nail effect but would like a fancier-sounding phrase. I have the impression that it happens a LOT in very technical fields, in which the investment of effort required to pick up a new perspective is large.

Jonathan dijo...

Yes, if you are a hammer everything looks like a nail. I'd like to have a better label for it. It's related to the bias that makes people think they are smarter and more competent than they really are.

Shedding Khawatir dijo...

Although I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the amount of information I feel like I should know, this is one reason I'm glad I'm in an interdisciplinary field. We're pretty much required to take different perspectives and consider approaches from diverse fields because it's quite clear that you need them all to explain complex phenomena, and even then it's hard. It helps protect against this type of bias, although it can still exist.

Andrew Shields dijo...

I don't know where I got the phrase from, but I use the French expression "deformation professionelle" to refer to this.

Specifically, since I teach English to German speakers, I always hear all the problems that German speakers have when they speak English, even if said speakers are so fluent that someone without my "deformation professionelle" would hear hardly any problems.

(But if I talk to a Spanish speaker speaking very good English, I don't hear the stubborn traces of Spanish that such a person finds hard to eliminate.)

R.M. dijo...

"Professional deformation" in action: http://xkcd.com/793/

Jonathan dijo...

We use the phrase "deformación profesional" in Spanish too. I guess I'll have to use that until I think of something better.