How to Prove Yourself Wrong When Being “Right” Is Holding You Back

If the future of work demands we learn faster and more deeply, and if solving our current business challenges necessitates open-mindedness and a willingness to seek questions in favor of answers, we need to check our own biases to succeed. –Click to Tweet

Especially because we really can’t wait for others to do it for us.

How to Combat Motivated Reasoning

1. Understand Why It Happens (and Be Honest with Yourself About It)

Reasoning is emotional. Neuroscience shows our feelings arise more quickly than our deliberations, which is likely tied to our evolutionary need to react quickly to environmental stimuli to survive.

Once you accept that we are wired to be biased, you can start overcoming your biases and move towards a higher state of objectivity. –Click to Tweet

2. Adopt the “Scout Mindset”

Adopting what Julia Galef calls the “scout mindset” is the first step in reducing your own bias.

The more you prioritize finding truth over being its master, the more likely you are to be objective. –Click to Tweet

3. Look for Empirically Testable Facts

In a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers found that when religious participants were presented with a critical article on religion they were more likely to cite untestable evidence for their beliefs than those who were presented with a neutral article.

4. Build Hypotheses First

Part of our tendency towards motivated reasoning may be the result of our education. We are taught to study information first and then we are tested on that same information afterwards with the goal of error reduction.

Holding onto doubt at the beginning staves off certainty at the end. –Click to Tweet

5. Change the Tools You Use to Find Answers

Finally, if you must Google, avoid the risk of finding the most popular facts or the ones most associated with your search history by changing the tools you use to search for information.



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Alida Miranda-Wolff

Teaching Love. Scaling Empathy. Founder & CEO of Ethos Talent. Executive Director of Embolden & Co. Program Director for 1871’s WIC Accelerator.