Bilingual news and shares about the brain, languages and coaching
Newsletter 16 - Biases
the N in NeuroLanguage Coaching®
“I think unconscious bias is one of the hardest things to get at”
― Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Did you know that your brain is constantly making assumptions and judgments based on your past experiences and beliefs that are referred to as BIASES? They affect how you perceive and interact with the world around you. Biases can also influence how you learn new things such as languages; So let's explore ;-).
The N(euroscience) : In this newsletter find out what biases are and how they come about
The C(oaching) : In the third and final part of this series, I’ll share some tips and strategies to overcome the negative effects of biases and enhance your learning outcomes.
We live in a world where we have to make A LOT OF decisions all day, every day - what socks to wear, what wine to drink, what Netflix series to watch, what playlist to choose, what podcast to listen to - you get the picture. Our brain is already very busy making us breathe, making our heart beat, and other mundane things like that ;-)
So in the case of the 1000s of decisions we make everyday, our brain and us create shortcuts that simplify our decision-making and problem-sloving processes. These shortcuts (called heuristics) exist for a reason : they allow us to function without constantly stopping to think about what to do next. While very useful to make everyday decisions, heuristics lead to biases when we make shortcuts where reasoning would be necessary, heuristics lead to biases when there is room for an error in judgement.
Neuroscience can help us (partly) understand our brains’ role in forming biases:
Neural Networks: Our brains form networks of interconnected neurons that store information and create associations between concepts. Biases can emerge from these associations, as our brains link certain ideas or concepts based on repeated exposure or personal experiences. These connections can lead to unconscious biases that affect how we see and judge things.
The limbic system: associated with processing emotions, plays a role in biases related to emotional responses. When encountering stimuli associated with emotional significance, the amygdala can influence rapid and biased judgments. Fear-related biases are a typical example.
In my research I found out that there were hundreds of biases. I picked a few of the more common ones:
Confirmation Bias : Tendency to seek, interpret, and remember information that confirms one's preexisting beliefs. A manager might favor her preferred approach by selectively listening to supporting feedback and ignoring dissenting opinions, hence overlooking better solutions.
Negativity Bias: Giving more weight to negative experiences or information than positive ones. An employee might fixate on a single critical comment from their supervisor during an otherwise positive performance review.
In-Group Bias: Favoring individuals perceived to be part of one's own group over those from different groups. Within a department, employees who are part of a close-knit social group may have access to inside information or opportunities for advancement.
Halo Effect: Generalizing positive traits or abilities from one area to an unrelated area. An employee who consistently excels in one area, like sales, might receive praise for their performance. This recognition could lead colleagues or supervisors to assume they are equally skilled in areas like project management, even if their competence in those areas is unproven.
While our brains way of working can lead to biases, they also hold the key to overcoming them.
Prefrontal Cortex : region responsible for reasoning and decision-making. When we're consciously aware of our biases, the prefrontal cortex can help regulate and counteract biased responses by engaging in more rational thinking processes.
Neuroplasticity : the brain can change and adapt over time. This gives us hope that biases, which are often learned through exposure and experience, can be unlearned. By consciously challenging and exposing ourselves to different perspectives, we can rewire the neural pathways that underlie biased thinking.
Mirror Neurons : Mirror neurons fire both when we perform an action and when we observe someone else performing the same action. They play a role in empathy and understanding others' experiences. Biases can be mitigated by activating mirror neuron networks, which allow us to empathize with diverse perspectives and reduce biased attitudes.
It's important to note that biases are not solely determined by neural processes; they are also shaped by societal, cultural, and environmental factors. Addressing biases requires a comprehensive approach that combines cognitive awareness, education, empathy, and social change.
If you're curious about my sources or want to know more about biases, you should click here
And if you want to go back on my other newsletters that cover all kinds of brain related, language related, coaching related fascinating subjects, I suggest you go to my newsletters webpage
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Neurolanguage Coaching® is an amazing method that will help you learn a language more efficiently than you've ever experienced before. It brings together findings about how the brain learns bests and integrates these into a coaching process that will put you in charge of YOUR learning journey. As a Coach, I'm the GPS to your driving. If you want to try it but are not ready to commit, I have a 2H Discovery Offer that might be just what you're looking for. Or we can just have a casual chat about it, just reply to this email.
Good to know
The Neurolanguage Coaching® certification is accredited by the ICF
La certification est accreditée par la Fédération Internationale de Coaching