This is part 1 of our workplace safety series on how cognitive biases affect safety. Click here to read Part 2, click here for Part 3, and here is Part 4.
Personal safety is an outcome of decision making. Consciously identifying and considering risk factors before acting will lower the odds of negative safety outcomes over time. Unfortunately, we humans aren’t completely rational decision makers. In fact, some neuroscience and psychological studies over the past decade indicate that our decision making is much more irrational than we previously would have imagined.
Nobel Prize winning, Princeton University Prof. Daniel Kahneman’s research indicates that we have two systems of thinking. One system is logical, deliberate, and analytically pursues rational answers to problems. We are aware of this part of our mind. It’s good at making decisions but it requires a lot of energy. If our mind is a computer the logical system is the program that causes our mind, fan spinning, to overheat with effort.