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Selection and decision-making criteria for a Distributed Control Systems in the process industry”.




Type of Bias


Description of Bias


Ways of Avoiding or Reducing the Negative Impact of Bias



Being unable to apply the same decision criteria in similar situations.


Formalize the decision-making process.  

Create decision-making rules to be followed.



Failing to change (or changing slowly) one's own mind in light of new information / evidence.

Monitor for changes in the environment and build procedures to take actions when such changes are identified.



Having the most recent events dominate those in the less recent past, which are downgraded or ignored (forgotten).


Realize that cycles exist and that not all ups and downs are permanent. Consider the fundamental factors that affect the event of interest.




Relying upon specific events easily recalled from memory to the exclusion of other pertinent information.

Present complete information.

Present information in a way that points out all sides of the situation being considered.        




Being unduly influenced by initial information, which is given more weight in the forecasting process.

Start with objective information (e.g. forecasts).

 Ask people to discuss the types of changes possible; ask the reasons when changes are proposed.   

Illusory Correlations


Believing that patterns are evident and/or tow variables are causally related when they are not.

Verify statistical significance of patterns.

Model relationships, if possible, in terms of changes.

Search for Supportive Evidence       


Persistent increases (or decreases) might be due to chance rather than a genuine trend.

One needs to explain that if the errors are random, the apparent trend is unlikely to continue.

Attribution of Success and Failure           


Believing success is attributable to one's skills while failure to bad luck, or someone else's error. This inhibits learning as it does not allow recognition of one's mistakes.

Do not punish mistakes, instead encourage people to accept their mistakes and make them public so they and others can learn to avoid similar mistakes in the future.

Optimism, Wishful Thinking

People's preferences for future outcomes affect their forecasts of such outcomes.

Have forecasts made by a disinterested third party. Have more than one person independently make the forecasts.

Underestimating Uncertainty   


Need to reduce anxiety by underestimating forecast risks.


Estimate uncertainty objectively. Consider many possible future events by asking different people to come up with unpredictable situations/events that might impact the outlook. Consider a wide-range of scenarios for alternative paths.


Selective Perceptions


Seeing problems in terms of one’s own background and experience.

Ask people with different backgrounds and experience to review the forecast.



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18-10-2009            Hit Counter


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