Mindset and biases

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  • Publié le : 29 mai 2010
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Albert Einstein once said that “it is more difficult to overcome a prejudice than to break an atom”. For quite some time now, social scientists, especially psychologists and sociologists, have beenresearching on the subject of biases and mindsets. Biases or stereotypes are shared beliefs regarding not only personal characteristics but also behaviors of a group of people. Too often such biasesare directly involved in the creation of mindsets, or in other words, shortcuts used to quickly but inefficiently solve problems, by using the same thinking process and solutions to past issues andapplying them to the present one. In order not to fall in this trap, it is essential for us to determine how biases and mindsets are formed, so as to propose suggestions on how to overcome them. We willfinally illustrate our case with two examples of how specific biases have appeared in a Homeland Security setting.

Mindset and biases are, according to G.C. Lichtenberg “the mechanical instincts ofmen: through their prejudices they do without any effort many things they would find too difficult to think through to the point of resolving to do them. But how do they appear?
They are part ofour cultural heritage. They are transmitted the same way standards, values and habits are. Depending on where we live, on what language we speak, on what we look like, our gender, our social status andour religion, our views of the world and certain problems will be quite different as we all see the world through diverse cultural lenses and are quick to make assumptions about one another based onthese factors. Mindsets are biases are also formed through the influences of our parents, who are our first source of knowledge, and the Medias which are saturated with stereotypes and lead us tounconscious assumptions.
These assumptions are the results of how the mind works. It is the human tendency to draw incorrect conclusions in certain circumstances based on cognitive factors rather than...