Let Me Count The Ways
I see myself as above average in intelligence, as an above average driver, and I believe that what I believe is true. So do most of you. If most of us are above average, where do those who are below average live? What I am talking about is the self-serving bias: A tendency for people to evaluate ambiguous information in a way beneficial to their own interests.
I have it, you have it, and so do most of us. It is sometimes called “the better than average phenomenon”. This self-serving bias usually comes from our personal experience. Bias is the thumb that experience puts on the scale (Gerald Smallberg). However, experience isn’t always the best teacher.
One of my self-serving biases might be my belief that “open-mindedness is the best teacher.” There is no scientific proof that this is true. Believing it is beneficial to my own interest of promoting positive uncertainty. Because of my belief in positive uncertainty, I am likely to believe arguments that support open-mindedness, even when these arguments are unsound. Open-mindedness goes with uncertainty, so this supports my goal. In this case I believe to be true what I want to be true.
I can think of some other people with a self-serving bias. For example it seems to be a built-in strategy for politicians, political pundits, and for some people I know (but of course not my wife Carol). Can you think of when others you know have interpreted information to fit their own interests? What about you? Can you identify a possible self-serving bias of yours?