So I set about today with the formidable task of proving why human beings are always right. It is a simple fact: our opinions, impressions and preferences will always be morphed in our minds as indisputable reality. Any evidence to the contrary, no matter what, can in some way be falsified by our exceedingly artful ego’s.
After living my life with complete faith in the unconditional correctness of all of my beliefs, an infallible certainty that I (especially) was always right, I was suddenly attacked today by a troubling notion. If I am always right, and everybody else believes they are always right heedless of any and all empirical evidence stating otherwise, who is actually correct? Or if everybody is right all the time as the human conscience would contend, does that mean nobody is? My first solution to this conundrum was latching onto the (probably correct) assumption that I was right the first time (naturally) and have an exceptional and elevated understanding of my self and the world, and thus my readings of each are piercingly accurate and on point the vast majority of the time. But then, EUREKA! Before I could hit the “send” button reporting these satisfactory findings, I stumbled upon an interesting term that helped me explicate the validity of my preconceived notions a little bit better. This concept, my friends, was that of “human biases”. With this revolutionary strand of research, I was finally able to dispel everybody else’s misguided pretenses of being right and reaffirm my superior standing as the sole human who actually is. To follow are a list of biases that others exhibit in order to fraudulently feign legitimacy.
1. False consensus effect: “The tendency for humans to overestimate the degree to which others agree with them”. Indeed, human beings have a baffling tendency to interpret incredulous head shakes, condescending sneers, and the word “no” as encouragement or praise. Thus when they articulate crazy claims or do something clearly unacceptable, they incorrectly perceive the responses of others as positive and supportive, when generally they are befuddled and/or critical in nature. When we ( ahem, others) are assured of being correct, that confidence is reaffirmed by whatever we see, no matter how obviously these cues signify the contrary.
2. Illusion of external agency: “when people view self-generated preferences as instead being caused by insightful, effective and benevolent agents.” Yes people, you have all done it. Your love of expansive, southern California beaches and crystal clear blue skies is an exquisitely tasteful and inspired preference. This setting provides you with an existential feeling of connectedness to the world and the effervescent spirit bursting from wild matter. When you are gazing out at the tumultuous blue sea, you feel one with the earth. Ok ok, admittedly this insight also has a little something to do with you not liking to be cold and the superficially pleasing fact that surfer men make for a decent crop of eye candy.
3. naive cynicism: “expecting more egocentric biases in others than in oneself.” Those who commit this bias think that others make self-centered and self-serving judgments based on their own preferences, but will refuse to acknowledge this tendency in themselves. For example: SoCal is much better than Norcal, and anybody who disagrees and puts their region on a higher pedestal is egocentric. See what I did there? Surprising that I could could come up with an example of this one so readily, considering that I have no practice with such a bias….
4. Self-serving bias- “the tendency to claim more responsibility for successes rather than failures.” This one explains why the quiz you aced last semester hangs on your parents fridge next to your participation track medal from six years ago, and the C- term paper you thought you aced sits shamefully in a hidden folder on a dusty flash drive never to be looked at or spoken of again. It also explains why friends on facebook are kept diligently informed of every good deed you have performed in the last month, and every “epic” night out you have had with your “besties” that a camera can capture. As far as this bias is concerned, that little stunt that happened last night in the alley behind typhoons DID NOT HAPPEN. and anyway, it wasn’t your fault…
5. Backfire effect: “when people react to disconfirming evidence by strengthening their beliefs.” You mean to tell me that because a few ice bergs have melted and the ozone layer is looking a bit think these days that global WARMING is occuring? Then explain to me last night why I had to sleep with an extra pair of fuzzy socks and a thermal blanket. You IDIOT, clearly you understand nothing of the way the environment works…Global warming? Preposterous, if anything global FREEZING is occuring…
6. confirmation bias: “the tendency to search for or interpret information or memories in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions.” For instance: I am a very compassionate person and always put the needs of others before myself. Remember that time at the beach two years ago when I fed that adorable seagull the rest of my meatball sandwich I didn’t feel like finishing because I was sickeningly full? It liked it so much it now prefers subway sandwiches to clams and shellfish. Your welcome. Also, I cannot believe my friends think my man likes that other girl. He bought her a bud LIGHT for god sakes. That’s the shittiest beer there is and it probably means he thinks she’s fat. He lets me buy my own drinks because he respects my independence.
Before I go on and on with my list of these common biases, I will step down from the podium because I think I have made my case for why others are psychologically delusional and wayward in their assumption of being right. Afterall, according to the “illusory superiority” bias, others will always be incorrect in their presumption that their opinion is better than mine. This report is not meant to patronize any humans for their fanciful, biased thinking, it’s just my benevolent and insightful mission to spread awareness. Good day everyone!:)