Since we enjoyed some beautiful content about cognitive biases lately, I’d like to approach another bias we “love” to do. It’s about assumptions.
We assume. A lot. Whenever there is something we don’t have information about, we fill in the blanks with whatever we believe to be real based on our past experiences. Basically, we project our experiences into the present or future. We try to fit some pieces of puzzle we have into a new puzzle. Sometimes it fits, sometimes it doesn’t, but we keep doing it and we’re convinced we’re doing the right thing.
Experts do something like this all the time, especially doctors. Whenever they have a case of an illness that seems to be ordinary, they assume it is and they treat it like an ordinary one because they are used for the symptoms to be associated with an ordinary illness (like a common cold). An unexperienced doctor can be more aware of the illnesses that are not that ordinary and they would probably do more investigations to make sure they use the right diagnostic (maybe it’s the beginner’s fear involved).
Whenever we assume something we get to a certain conclusion and if we believe it to be right, we’ll ignore each and every fact that tries to prove it wrong. Therefore, we’ll ignore the reality because our fiction seems to be more real. I’m not sure how helpful that is…
How often do you rely on assumptions? Do you find it helpful or harmful?