Lisa Bu, Ph.D.: Overcoming Myside Bias – Enhancing Fairness in Decision-Making | Doing Well #39

In this episode, host Lu Ngo is joined by Lisa Bu, Ph.D., who works on the Global Business Development Team at TED

Biases are insidiously invisible. People often overlook how they cloud their decision-making and perception of the world until they are educated or pointed out to them. This episode discusses the phenomenon of my-side biases and how to overcome them.

Meet Dr. Lisa Bu

Dr. Lisa Bu works at the Global Business Development Team at TED. Her passion for public media has led her to many different paths. Now, she is an educator, project manager, writer and editor, and computer programmer. She even worked as a talk show producer for seven years. She is also an active presenter, being the first TED staffer to be invited to speak at the conference.

About the episode

The show began with Dr. Lisa’s definition of well-being in three dimensions: having a sense of control, purpose, and belonging. However, most people have two main misconceptions: they mistake well-being as a static state and that it has absolute criteria.

She relates this to myside bias, a form of confirmation bias—the tendency for people to seek out, process, and memorize information that confirms their beliefs. On the other hand, open-mindedness is the conscious decision to seek out and process information that might not align with one’s worldview. This is what allows individuals to attain well-being.

This is significant in daily life because people need to process information constantly. For example, forming opinions about social issues, evaluating election candidates, etc., require objective information processing, which is difficult to achieve with my-side bias. 

Dr. Lisa revealed that overcoming bias is important for well-being because people are very impressionable, even when they think they are not. Furthermore, in the age of social media and influencers, there are more and more “voices” on the internet, and if you’re not open-minded, you can easily fall into the trap of confirmation bias.

To overcome personal biases, Dr. Lisa advocated enhancing a person’s emotional intelligence. She discussed the importance of being self-aware, having a growth mindset, and approaching information.

She recommended a few steps: go beyond the labels, evaluate whether you’re learning or performing, and conduct a life rehearsal.

In conclusion

Personal biases cloud decision-making and make it difficult to view life as it is. But there is an antidote. This episode discussed the definition and role of open-mindedness as a counter to biases and discussed specific strategies to enhance this trait.

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