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Skip to 0 minutes and 10 secondsIn looking back over the last three lectures, we've examined how uncertainty and complexity in our environment affect Decision Making, so, the way we think about the world and the way we judge. I took a special time to spotlight the effects of complexity on stereotyping specifically. I also talked about how to combat the negative effects of stereotyping. But in today's lecture, I'm going to actually examine how to combat the negative effects of uncertainty and complexity in general. I'm going to talk about three methods to do so. The first is self-awareness. The second is engaging in what I'm going to call the disconfirmation bias.

Skip to 0 minutes and 48 secondsIf you remember from lecture one, I talked about the confirmation bias, but today I'm actually going to talk about the disconfirmation bias. The last way of combating the negative effects of uncertainty and complexity that I'm going to discuss today is what I'm going to call the commitment equals consistency rule. The first way of combating the negative effects that I'm going to discuss is self-awareness. Self-awareness of one's own tendency is one way to help buffer the negative effects of uncertainty and complexity in our environment. Actually, the self-awareness was one of the goals that I had for these last three lectures.

Skip to 1 minute and 25 secondsTo make you more self-aware of how uncertainty and complexity, which are inevitable parts of modern life, affect your own behaviour or your own thinking, your own judgement . Self-awareness is not only something that you can change -- you can become more or less self-aware -- but it's also an individual difference. Meaning that some people are naturally more self-aware than are others. This is a personality trait called self-monitoring. The more you self-monitor your own behaviour, the less likely you are to fall prey to some of insidious or negative effects of uncertainty and complexity. As part of today's lecture, you're actually going to complete a measurement tool which will give you information on the extent to which you personally self-monitor.

Skip to 2 minutes and 12 secondsThis measurement that you take is going to give you a score on what is known as private self-consciousness -- how much you personally self-monitor your behaviour. A second way to think about how to combat the negative effects of uncertainty and complexity is to engage in what I'm going to call the disconfirmation bias. So rather than think about why you think about the world might be true -- the confirmation bias we talked about in lecture one -- maybe think about why the way you see the world is false. That is, what evidence is there to disconfirm your way of seeing the world? In lecture two I talked about my stereotype of Americans as a bit loud and obnoxious.

Skip to 2 minutes and 57 secondsIn order to combat this stereotype that I have, I probably should think about the many examples I know of quiet, well-mannered Americans. Ways to disconfirm my preexisting beliefs about the world. Disconfirmation bias. Lastly, what I'm going to here call commitment equals consistency. If you want to try to combat the negative effects of complexity or uncertainty in your environment, make a private, or even better, public, commitment to not engage in some activity prior to being persuaded to do so. Prior to being exposed to the social norms. And this is Robert Cialdini. I talked about him in lecture one. Robert Cialdini's advice for countering the negative influence of social norms.

Skip to 3 minutes and 44 secondsFor example, before going to a party where many of your friends will be drinking a lot of alcohol, maybe if you don't want to drink a lot of alcohol that night, write down on a piece of paper that you're only going to have three drinks. Or tell a friend that's accompanying you to the party you're only going to have three drinks that night. What Cialdini finds in his research is that if you pre-commit, or you commit to something, a way of behaving, before you're put into that situation, you're more likely to act consistently with that commitment. So to wrap up, these last three sessions I've talked about how uncertainty and complexity affect your Decision Making.

Skip to 4 minutes and 24 secondsI hope you've enjoyed these last three lectures as much as I have. I hope you've also learned something about how to deal with the inevitable uncertainty and complexity in your environment. This last lecture was specifically focused on that -- to give you tools that you can use at the end of this activity to combat the negative effects.

Improving our decision making

This video explains that by knowing the effects of complexity and uncertainty on our own decision-making processes, we can improve these processes.

You can try the test that is mentioned, it is at the end of this article

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This video is from the free online course:

Decision Making in a Complex and Uncertain World

University of Groningen

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