The failure to address issues of Groupthink and Cognitive Biases will undermine the output of any forum for political decision-making. Such forums should, therefore, expect their participants to:
1) Conduct themselves in a manner that helps mitigate against Groupthink; notably participants should avoid:
a) Belief in the morality of a cause without question;
b) The placing of pressure on individuals to conform, and by not seeing questioning as disloyal or heretical;
c) The suppression of ideas through failing to discourage self-censorship;
d) The interpretation of silence as consent;
e) Using people and processes to suppress dissenting and inconvenient information;
f) The stereotyping of opponents or other groups as evil or stupid;
g) Encouraging a sense of invulnerability that leads to unnecessary risks being taken;
h) Ignoring warnings of failure through engaging in collective rationalisation.
2) Acknowledge the potential impacts of cognitive biases, especially:
a) Confirmation bias – whereby there is a tendency to seek information that confirms preconceptions but discounts contradicting information;
b) Self-serving bias – whereby there is a tendency to emphasise one’s own personal or group successes rather than failures;
c) Ingroup Bias – whereby there is a tendency to overestimate the capabilities of one’s own group and underestimate its limitations;
d) Belief bias – whereby logic is overridden by belief in a conclusion;
e) Projection Bias – whereby there is a tendency to think others think like you;
f) The Bandwagon effect – whereby there is a tendency to act as others around you do;
g) The Halo effect – whereby perceptions of somebody’s capabilities or opinions are influenced by unconnected facts such as celebrity status;
h) Availability heuristic – whereby there is a tendency to draw conclusions based on more memorable events whilst possibly overlooking more pertinent events.
3) Conduct themselves in a manner that fosters civil debate by:
a) Being courteous to others;
b) Speaking truthfully and neither misrepresenting facts, words and actions, nor deliberately citing them out of context.
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