Fortunately for serious minds, a bias recognized is a bias sterilized. - Benjamin Haydon
In order to properly use your critical thinking skills, it is imperative to recognize your own biases. Here are a few common areas of bias as well as some questions to ask yourself that will help pinpoint your own preconceived thinking patterns.
- Cultural Bias - What impact might my culture have on my thinking process? What traditions do I participate in that may seem odd to others?
- Religious Bias - On what basis do I question the beliefs of others? What makes my beliefs valid while I believe someone else's are not?
- Racial Bias - Do I believe stereotypes about those outside of my own race? What stereotypes might other races have about mine?
- Gender Bias - How does my gender affect how others treat me? How might my gender affect my views on other topics?
- Economic Bias - What makes me economically better or worse off than others? How do I view those with a different economic status than myself?
Brain Image Bias
Did you know, you are more likely to believe everything on this page because a picture of a brain scan is included? This is called brain image bias, to learn more, click here.
It is quite possible that even after answering these questions you will not be convinced that your thinking can be so easily jaded.
A great explanation of how bias affects everyone's thinking can be found here. The most important fact you can take from this is that an awareness of your own preconceptions is critical to mastering the skill of critical thinking. Without this self-awareness, the true concept of thinking critically cannot be accomplished.