Cognitive biases and social capital Part of 2022 report "Exploring the limits of social capital"

The human brain has developed tools to deal with the various problems discussed above. Psychology has identified approximately 175 different cognitive biases that help us to deal with these problems. However, these biases mean that our perception of reality is incomplete, biased, and often flawed. Everyone’s experiences and perceptions are different, which means we need to invest time communicating with each other to reach shared understandings. The role of cognitive biases in influencing or limiting social capital has not been systematically explored. An improved understanding of the role of cognitive biases may be extremely helpful in improving initiatives designed to build social capital. This is an emerging area of research, connecting with existing theories in psychology and social psychology.

Many of the cognitive abilities mentioned above that can be improved or developed with practice or training. Some tools or techniques can be used to supplement or improve our cognitive abilities. These can be as simple as writing notes to help us remember things, doing memory exercises, empathy training, ToM exercises, and working to breakdown cognitive biases that negatively influence social capital. The role of technology is important in changing the importance and types of cognitive abilities that are important for social capital. For example, social media has supplemented the need to remember many social details. The factors identified in this section have not been thoroughly explored and represent a significant opportunity to deepen our understanding of social capital processes and factors that may ultimately limit social capital.

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