Wednesday, 27 December 2017


Cognitive Bias - this is when a person does not believe that an outcome is likely to happen; because it has already happened several times in the past.
This is a fallacy because  a random event may have occurred several times in the past. But this does not negate its chances of occurring in the future.

Example. Just because a gambler has won a game of cards 3 times in a row does not mean he will win the 4th time. His chances are still 50 - 50. Cognitive bias is also called Gamblers' Fallacy.

Hindsight Bias - After the occurrence of an event, we tell ourselves and possibly others that we could have predicted the event. We probably may not have been able to predict it.

Example. The breakup of a relationship - we think that there were ample indications since the very beginning pointing towards the break-up.

Researcher Bias: This happens when a researcher's opinion leans towards a particular outcome and this subjectively affects the results of an experiment.  This may or may not be a conscious process.

Example. A research may firmly believe in that Homeopathy is placebo and may consciously or unconsciously convey his/her views to the participants.

Friday, 11 August 2017

What is Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP)?

NLP - Understanding the Basics

What NLP can do for you:

  • NLP helps you identify self-defeating thought patterns and beliefs that obstruct personal progress. 
  • It helps you examine your words and actions and what these reveal about your perceptions. 
  • You'll learn how to let go of faulty perceptions and how to make your words and actions work for you instead of against you.
Let's say you have a goal. You want to finish your project at least a week before the deadline; in order to avoid last minute stress.

To achieve this goal, you, your conscious mind and your unconscious mind have to work as a team. Here, you are the project leader and your conscious and unconscious minds are your team members.

Your conscious mind is your shadow and usually follows your lead but it also succumbs to the whims of your unconscious mind.  The unconscious mind for its part, has its own agenda that often works against your goals.

Now, imagine a carriage drawn by two horses. What happens when one of the horses pulls the carriage in one direction and the other horse in another direction? Chaos reigns.

The same thing happens when the conscious mind and the unconscious mind that are supposed to work together, have different goals.  They end up pulling you in different directions.

Therefore, in order to achieve the goal you've set for yourself, you need to convince these two team members to align the way they think and to work harmoniously with each other.  But, how do you go about it?

That's where NLP comes in. This has three aspects: Neuro, linguistics and programming.

Neuro - is the neurological aspect of sensory inputs, thoughts, reactions, and responses.

Linguistics - is all about the way you use language - both verbal and non-verbal to conceptualize your experiences and to relate it to others.

Programming - is about how you encode your experiences.  What is your thinking pattern? What are the filters (beliefs, past experiences, etc.) you use with the internal processing of your experiences?

NLP is a strategy that uses the combination of these three aspects, to help you recognize self defeating thought patterns, beliefs, and behaviours, debug maladaptive encoding of experiences, re-examine, and consciously rearrange unproductive thought processes with the objective of achieving your goal.

What do you do when you are a part of a team?

You analyse the strengths and weaknesses of each team member. You exploit the strengths; and if your team members are also close friends, you try to help each other overcome or deal with weaknesses. You, your conscious mind and your unconscious mind are without a doubt intimate friends. NLP trains you to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of each part and help each of them to communicate better with the other.

In other words, NLP helps you align your unconscious mind with the conscious mind so that they work in unison to support each other and you in the journey towards your goal.

Resources: NLP for Dummies

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Dealing with Unethical Attitude - Case Study -1

Case Study: Miss A is a writer and she has applied for a post through an online forum.  Mr. X interviews her and asks her to write a sample article to help him evaluate her writing skills. Miss. A does as she is asked. Mr. X offers her a job; but she feels that the pay is too low and turns it down.

A few days later, Miss. A finds the sample article she sent Mr. X published in an online forum under his own name.  Shocked, she confronts him. But Mr. X is unrepentant and justifies his action saying, "It's after all a simple blog post.  Moreover, I offered you the job and you turned it down."

Miss. A is furious.

With the intention of exposing Mr.X, Miss. A posts the incident in one of the online groups she belongs to.  She says that she never realized that her articles were so good until she caught people posting her articles without paying her and without her permission.

Advice starts pouring in.  People tell her, she should not let him get away with it.  She should narrate the incident in all the social media channels with links pointing to his profile.

Do you think their suggestions will really help?

How would you help her deal with the situation and prevent her from getting into similar situations in the future?

By exposing the guy on online forums they both belong to?

No. Because, he would simply find other forums and people to scavenge off. Besides, the point is to prevent Miss. A from getting into similar situations in the future. So, we are not going to resort to counter- productive, vengeful  measures that could become a vicious cycle of throwing insults at each other.

So, should she simply let it go?

No. She should confront him and let him know that what's he did is unethical and leave it at that. Our job is not to correct the unethical behaviour of X but to help prevent A from getting into such situations in the future.

One solution to this specific problem is, she could start a blog (if she does not already have one) and post her sample articles in the blog. And then point prospective employers to the specific article they are likely to be interested in. That way, any publishing they do will merely be republishing and would infringe on copyright laws.

Key point: We can do nothing about other people behaving badly.  What we can do is equip ourselves to defend ourselves against such behaviour.

Any other solutions?

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

The subconscious mind

The subconscious mind is like a volatile volcano waiting to erupt or an earthquake waiting to happen.  It can lead to a lot of destruction. We can however safeguard ourselves by being very careful about what we put into it. If we load it up with plenty of positive assertions, when emotional situations do strike, reactions triggered by the subconscious mind can be converted to measured responses, thereby keeping distruction to relationships minimal.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Sample and Population

Population: let's say you want to see how many people in your city like potatoes.  In statistics,the collection of all the people about whom you are going to draw inferences is called population.  In this case, it is the total number of people in your city.

Sample: a sample can be defined as the subset of the representative population from which the data is collected.  In order to be effective and to be truly representative of the population, the sample has to be random. In this case, it will be a group of people randomly selected from the population.


Let's say we are testing the effects of a drug on cancer patients.

Hypothesis - is an idea that is based on solid facts but is yet to be tested. Based on facts, the hypothesis predicts the outcome. But the outcome has not yet been tested.

Hypothesis Testing - is a step by step procedure that helps us decide whether or not the results of a research based on a sample supports a hypothesis when applied to a population. Lets say the drug is tested on 3 patients and it works in 2. What is the inference? Does this mean it would work on 2/3 of the population? A hypothesis testing will help you decide.

Null hypothesis - assumes that the hypothesis to be tested has no effect on the outcome of the research experiment - assumes that the drug has no effect on cancer patients.