Cognitive Bias – a beginner’s guide

​“Cognitive Bias” at a very high level means that the sum of all of our experiences inform how we judge the people we meet.

It is a pre-programmed psychological response that we have inherited from our cavemen forefathers.  When they met anybody ​new, they would have had to make a snap judgement on whether they were a threat to their existence or if they could trusted to be included as part of their tribe.  The caveman would be making an immediate decision based on their past experiences, and would react accordingly.

Cognitive Bias - inherited from our cavemen ancestors

If they had experienced problems with every stranger that came from a particular direction, would they blithely accept ​another newcomer who appeared from that direction?  No, they would be wary.

Why is Cognitive Bias important when making a first impression?​

So, underneath our veneer of civilisation, we're pretty much like our cavemen ancestors.  When you meet somebody new, they will make an initial judgement of you.  From that point all of your responses will be assessed with filter in place.  

Cognitive-Bias - we have just evolved from our cavemen ancestors

If you make a good impression, their cognitive bias will be looking for ways in which you are similar to them - could you be part of their tribe?  All of your conversation will be viewed from a positively framed perspective.  

If you don't make a good impression, they will look for ways in which you are different and there will be a negative framing of your responses.

Just think of the effect of that when you're off for a job interview or on a first date!​