The human mind has a tendency to over-homogenize its outgroups. Statements and narratives that generalise and stereotype our outgroups seem to be more easily acceptable to us than we would expect from our rational selves.
Join me in this episode as I talk about the outgroup homogeneity bias. I know it’s a bit of a mouthful, but it is a cognitive bias that’s actually very fascinating once understood properly.
Like most of my episodes, I talk about how to go about understanding this cognitive bias in simple and easy-to-understand language. And I also cite examples from our everyday lives where this bias creeps in and holds us back from being the best we can be.
I had fun recording this episode.
I hope you have fun listening to it.
I’ll see you in the playground.
Until next time.
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“We don’t see the world as the world is, we see it as we are.”Anais Nin
I always quote this powerful one liner whenever I have to make someone understand the importance of talking about and getting a grasp of their own biases. Our thoughts, our narratives, our perceptions, our biases – they form the basis of how the world seems to us. And if we aren’t aware of this truth, we start to assume that our world view is the correct world view.
As Daniel Kahneman talked about in his bestselling book Thinking, fast and slow – The human mind tends to work on the principle of WYSIATI (What you see is all there is). We do not know what we do not know. And hence, it’s important to understand and unlearn the falsities in what we do know.
While it is a bit of a mouthful, the outgroup homogeneity effect is one of those cognitive biases that is quite easy to understand. For starters, I have jotted down a few questions that might pop into an inquisitive reader’s mind about the same.
What is meant by outgroup?
A person’s outgroup is defined as a group the lies outside of the boundary of that person’s identity. For instance, for a woman brought up in a Hindu household in India, the groups ‘men’, ‘Christians’, ‘Italians’ are her outgroups.
What is outgroup homogeneity?
Outgroup homogeneity can be understood as the tendency of the human mind to see its outgroups as much more homogeneous than its ingroups. For instance, Americans may see themselves as a very diverse group, while at the same time considering a group of other nationals such as Australians or Indians as a very homogenous or similar group of people.
What causes outgroup homogeneity?
I think one of the chief causes for outgroup homogeneity can be attributed to the fact that it’s easy. It simplifies the overall narrative in a person’s mind if certain narratives about an outgroup are considered to be generally applicable to the entire group.
What are some examples of outgroup homogeneity?
Indians may see themselves as a very diverse group of individuals, while at the same time considering a group of other nationals such as Russians or French as a very homogenous or similar group of people.
In this episode of my podcast, The Unlearning Playground, I build on this bias of our minds using everyday life examples and an easy-to-understand language that facilitates easier absorption. That, I believe, is the hallmark of my podcast anyway.
Make sure to check out the episode on your platform of choice here.
As a follow up to this episode, I’m sure my playlist on Understanding human cognitive biases would appeal to the eager listener. Check it out here.