Stop being so Biased! Biases you should know


Stop Being so Biased!  Biases you should know

     If you're a human being, your mind is biased.  Don't try and tell me (or yourself) that you're not, you are.  This is not a sign of you being a bad person, it is just how our brains are constructed.  But if you know how your brain is biased, then you can take steps to actually be less biased or recognize when you are being biased.  It doesn't help when you can recognize when others are being biased, but at least it can help you.  Our ability to analyze information is one of the factors that makes us different from other animals, so let's try to maximize that power, by minimizing how our brain deceives us. 

Psychology can be such a B****

Fundamental attribution error:

     This is a big one and is part of the reason people attack YOU as a person when you do poorly.  Here is a good definition for us to use from


When we are trying to understand and explain what happens in social settings, we tend to view behavior as a particularly significant factor. We then tend to explain behavior in terms of internal disposition, such as personality traits, abilities, motives, etc. as opposed to external situational factors.

This can be due to our focus on the person more than their situation, about which we may know very little. We also know little about how they are interpreting the situation.

Western culture exacerbates this error, as we emphasize individual freedom and autonomy and are socialized to prefer dispositional factors to situational ones.

When we are playing the role of observer, which is largely when we look at others, we make this fundamental attribution error. When we are thinking about ourselves, however, we will tend to make situational attributions.


      What that is trying to say, is that when we view other people's actions, we judge that to be apart of who they are.  With little regard for what is going on around them.  Here's an example you can all relate too.

     Your playing top lane against Alistar jungle and your trying to be very careful, but Alistar says "HI!" at lvl 2 and burns your flash.  To keep from being denied further, you try to get in to farm.  Only Alistar had been waiting there for almost 20 seconds to gank you again.  This time, you die horribly and you know top is pretty much lost.  As the game continues, your lane opponent counter-jungles your jungler and ganks mid twice.  Your whole team proceeds to blame you for losing the game and feeding.  "You are a terrible top laner and just lost us the game you retard!"  They cry.  "Please go back to AI games, you suck."

     Sound familiar?  They attributed your loss top lane to you being bad and a moron.  You however, would likely direct everyone's attention to the fact that Alistar was left open and ganked you twice.  Observers, your teammates, will observe your actions (or rather the outcomes) and will attack your own person, while you will attribute it more to the situation than your own internal fault. 

     This is called the fundamental bias because it applies so much to the field of psychology and is found across the globe, across cultures.  It happens to everyone and we do it all the time.  Ever since I learned about this, I have taken the time to try to analyze the situation people find themselves in more than I used too.  It isn't perfect, but I never said I was. 

Confirmation Bias

     This is partly why it is nearly impossible to change someone's mind on the internet.  Syndra might not be OP, but good luck convincing someone of that on the forums if they start an OP thread. 

Definition once again taken from

When we have made a decision or build a hypothesis, we will actively seek things which will confirm our decision or hypothesis. We will also avoid things which will disconfirm this. The alternative is to face the dissonance of being wrong.

We use this approach both for searching our memory and looking for things in the external world. This has also been called the Positive Test Strategy.

Confirmation bias has also been called Confirmatory Bias, Myside Bias and Verification Bias.


      What this definition says is that you have what you think about something and will search out evidence to confirm what you already think.   Once someone is convinced of something, it can be very hard to change their mind.  The community does this all the time, once a champion is considered OP, they will find reasons to confirm they are OP and vice-versa if that champion is not thought to be OP.  This is why it takes someone like Elementz (or other pro's) to really change opinions.  I know Elementz is a better player than me and he plays with people who I know are much better than me, which helps me to overcome the idea that I am wrong in my opinion.  But the fact it takes a Pro to change minds, shows how strong this bias can be.  Even then, many will disagree with him using ill founded logic to try to back up their own opinions. 

     You have all no doubt done something like this.  You have your opinions, your smarter than everyone else and know the truth better than they do.   And you just might, but we have to try to keep an open mind to avoid becoming "that guy" who doesn't know s*** but talks like he is god's gift to mankind. 


     It is not my goal to lecture you all on psychology and all the bias's you could possibly have, that could be a university course in itself.  My goal is to point out some common biases that we see all the time and some ways to help mitigate them for ourselves, as we cannot change how others manage it.  Just knowing about them can help to avoid their worst aspects and I hope this has given you the ability to see some of our own flaws.  We are human after all.   





  • #22 DonYagamoth

    I know about these biases since a long time, and it's so, so frustrating dealing with it.. The worst part about this whole thing is, knowing about it and being unable to explain it to the team mates ^^..

    - "No, that Xin top did not poorly because he is a bad player, he did poorly because he got camped. The rest of the lanes didn't compensate for the enemy jungler being top all the time."
    - "Dude, are you two duo queueing?"
    - "I never duo queue.."
    - "Yeah, sure.."

    There is always a reason for everything. If people want to win, they shouldn't care about what happened - "But, Xin fed top lane!" - but instead concentrate on how to make the best out of the situation.

    My favorite situation is still the following: Someone manages to get first blood in a certain situation. But this situation was so lengthy, that he gets to his lane late (let's say he is top lane). The enemy is already level 3 when he reaches the lane. Guess what happens - he gets denied or killed, despite having the first blood. Since this is top lane, the level advantage snowballs and ultimately leads to the one getting first blood having completely lost the lane simply by getting into the lane too late.
    "Dude, you got first blood and lost? You are so bad!"

  • #20 TheGreatBlackJew

    Biases differ among languages btw. Western languages have the most "blame game" thinking pattern while a lot of eastern languages don't.

  • #21 Emeraldw

    There is an indication that eastern cultures are less prone to to the Fundamental Attribution Bias, but they still are.  So while there are differences in biases, many of them are recognized across cultures, across the world. 

  • #19 Genomax

    I like this article. I actually wrote a similar one a year ago, on the general discussion forums:

  • #11 APXZX

    Great concept, the grammar did anger me though.

  • #10 ancharius

    we just discussed these biases in my social psychology class on thursday... spooky

  • #7 iCursor

    "Your playing top lane against Alistar jungle and your trying to be very careful"

    "Your.. ..your.."

    Please. Learn the difference between 'You're' and 'Your'. I can't even read the rest of the article.

  • #8 Rookez

    Oh no I can't read an article because one grammar mistake. 

    Glad my life doesn't suck that bad.

  • #12 Tomaj

    "Can't"? Learn the difference between "can't" and "won't." I can't even give you credit toward your comment.

  • #15 Emeraldw

    My apologies Teacher!  Please don't mark down my grade!

    Ok, in all seriousness, yes I did mess up in my grammar.  But English is a B**** of a language to deal with and I have not had an English class in literally almost a decade.  I am sorry if you believe my content is not worth much with my inferior linguistic capabilities, but hopefully you can at least try to see what I am saying, and not how I say it.    

  • #5 xepel

    No discussion of biases and LoL is complete without mentioning the Dunning–Kruger effect. (Short version: People who don't have much ability tend to overestimate their competence - illusory superiority.)

  • #13 Emeraldw

    If I did every bias I know, this article would be a thesis.  Better to do this in bits. 

  • #17 xepel

    Well, having only two seemed overly short to me, considering how many you could've done. If this is a series of articles, I suppose it makes more sense.

  • #18 Emeraldw

    That was the plan, though it won't be every week.  Every once in awhile, throw it out.

  • #4 blainetog

    It might be a good idea to rework the explanation to Confirmation Bias to avoid implying that Elementz (or pro players in general) are unbiased in their opinions.  They probably do have a better handle on the game than casual players, but your comparison undermines the premise of the article, that "everyone has biases."

    Last edited by blainetog: 10/19/2012 2:50:03 PM
  • #14 Emeraldw

    It isn't that they are unbiased, but their opinions have a lot more experience and knowledge behind them.  Making them better to cut through the various clutter we have. 

    Their biased too, but their knowledge and experience help make them less biased in a way. 

  • #3 Matteycat

    In addition, from the scene you described, I think you can apply the idea of "locus of control."  In the scenario described, each team member, at least to a certain extent, is displaying an external locus of control.  They believe the loss was caused by their external environment (i.e. the "retarded" top lane) and not by their own internal actions.  

    The top lane member believes the same thing.  Notice they focus on the idea that they were ganked, and do not focus internally and ask themselves "What did I do wrong? How could I have avoided that?"  Again, they are displaying a bit of an external locus by blaming loss on their external environment (an Ali who can successfully gank) and not on their internal abilities to improve the situation.  

    If you've studied psychology (which you quite obviously have) you'll know that nobody has a 100% external locus of control, and nobody has a 100% internal locus of control.  The reality of our environments is somewhere in between those extremes.  The interesting thing about fundamental attribution error, is that it is connected to the idea of locus of control.  Fundamental attribution error is used (subconsciously) by those with external loci, to reinforce the idea that outcomes are "not their fault" but the fault of their environmental factors (in the case of this article this means the rest of their team).  I think it's important for teams to have a balance, to understand the reality, and know that sometimes it's not always one persons fault.  Sometimes its a combination of everyone's fault. And sometimes...just sometimes...the opposing team is just better at League of Legends, and the only way to increase chances at victory in the future is to improve their own skills.  

  • #6 nochange

    And sometimes...just sometimes...the opposing team is just better at League of Legends, and the only way to increase chances at victory in the future is to improve their own skills.  

    My favorite quote. More than half the time this is the case. Most people end up getting outplayed. People are so prideful that they can't fathom that maybe their opponents are better than them. Instead people have the mentality that their team is 'bad' inherently, even if their plays were legitimate, they just underestimated the enemy's skill level.

  • #2 nochange

    Thanks for the article, good read.

    Unfortunately confirmation bias runs rampant in many different fields, especially the scientific fields -- people looking only to prove their theories, throwing out any evidence that refutes it.

    On topic: Agreed, a lot of players need to get their head out of their butts and actually think. :P

  • #1 Latzko

    Sorry to point it out... Your =/= you're

    Otherwise enjoyed reading this article. GL

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