The brain is the most complex organ in the body, and it is in charge of making decisions that will impact individuals for the rest of their lives. However, just like any other organ, the brain has its flaws and weaknesses that we need to be aware of.
The Kwantlen Psychology Society will host a speaker series on March 23 at 1:00 pm titled “The PWEOR OF CNOTXET: Cognitive Bias in Expert Judgment.” The event will be led by Dr. Carla MacLean, a KPU instructor in the psychology department.
The event focuses on how humans process information daily and how the brain cannot cope with or absorb everything it is exposed to, which leads to automatic responses or fast decisions based on the information that is already stored.
“We don’t consciously make choices because the brain is doing its work. It has made its choice and modified your perception,” MacLean says.
MacLean defined cognitive bias as a “systematic factor of determining judgment other than the objective approach,” and it is important to be aware of such biases, especially in areas of expertise such as fingerprint and DNA analysis, forensics science, pathology, or in any area where people value experts’ opinions to verify evidence and make conclusions.
“It is something to consider how their cognitive processes may affect their choices and judgments with the evidence they are looking at. It is how cognition of experts might lead them down to make inaccurate judgment,” she says.
This is why it is important for experts to be aware of different kinds of biases to avoid leading to misinformed conclusions, she adds.
“Experts, like the rest of us, make mistakes. The more expertise you have in a certain area, the more automatic your understanding of the material, and the less consciously aware you are of the choices that your brain is making for you,” MacLean says.
“It is not an ethical issue, but this is an issue of cognition. They are not trying to put someone behind bars. These are just little hiccups that happen within our cognitive system and how we process information that we need to be paying attention to.”
At the event, she will discuss more on the topic of source bias and ways on how to minimize it with supporting evidence through case studies and research.
Kayla Garvin is the Treasurer and Events Coordinator of KPS. She says the reason behind their idea of hosting the speaker series is that it can be useful to students and help them to see the different aspects of psychology that affect their daily lives.
The upcoming speaker event will run for one hour and a half, and another half will be allotted for the questions and answers session at the end.
“There are certain aspects about switching online that actually made things a lot easier,” says Garvin. “Previously, if we wanted to host events, we would need to physically book spaces and have catering, but now, since most events are now online, we can just use online spaces. But at the same time, it’s been kind of difficult to replicate social events,”.
Despite struggles of student engagement, they actively set up activities and events for everyone to access, like Game Nights where they use online platforms like Discord to collectively watch movies about psychology or play multiplayer games.
Some other upcoming events hosted by the KPS are the Jamovi Workshop, which is a statistics application to help students crunch numbers, a games night, and a CV workshop for academic purposes..
For students who are interested in joining their events, you can contact the KPS through their website.