Tag: Unconscious bias

10 May

Beware of the Illusory Truth Effect!

Kira Domratchev General Interest Tags: , , , 2 Comments

The illusory truth effect, also known as the illusion of truth, describes how, when we hear the same false information over and over again, we often come to believe it to be true.

I think this concept is an important one to consider for litigators, as we are often embroiled in files that last many years on end. In fact, so much information is often exchanged over a given period of time, that you start to question what really happened. I certainly find myself doing just that on many long playing files.

The trouble with this phenomenon is that most well-informed individuals are prone to this bias and particularly in the age of social media where we often see the same information repeatedly, it is a real issue.

You would think that before deciding whether a claim is true or false, one would compare the claim to available evidence?

Unfortunately, we have to make countless decisions on a daily basis and we simply do not have the time to engage in a lengthy process of comparing and contrasting with respect to every call that needs to be made. We rely on many shortcuts, called heuristics, that can lead to errors in our judgment.

Why Does It Happen?

According to renowned behavioural economist, Daniel Kahneman, there are two thinking systems in our brain: a) System 1 – is fast and automatic, working without our awareness; and b) System 2 – that handles deeper, more effortful processing, and is under our conscious control. Given the amount of decisions we need to make in a day, we tend to rely on System 1, a lot more often than System 2.

Why Is It Important?

In the era of the Internet, we are surrounded by false rumours, conspiracy theories and very often, outright lies. Furthermore, the illusory truth effect doesn’t just affect us by accident, as propagandists understand that repetition is key to forcing people to accept their message.

Importantly, How Do We Avoid It?

This type of bias is quite tricky to avoid, given how pervasive our use of System 1 thinking is. For that reason, critical thinking is the best tool at tackling this issue. In other words, fact-checking your claim the first time you hear it is important in order to reduce the power of the illusory truth effect.

To learn more about this, check out an article by The Decision Lab entitled “Why do we believe misinformation more easily when it’s repeated many times?” here.

Thanks for reading.

Kira Domratchev

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07 Dec

Attending a Virtual Conference: Insights from the Family Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario Conference

76admin General Interest Tags: , , , 0 Comments

On November 16, 2020, the Family Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario (“FDRIO”) held its annual Conference. Hull & Hull LLP was proud to once again sponsor this excellent event. Due to social distancing requirements the Conference was completely virtual, including presentations, break-out sessions, and wellness breaks.

Although the Conference is geared toward family lawyers and professionals working in the field of family dispute resolution, estates matters are often impacted by family tension and disagreement. Consequently, family dispute resolution strategies and insights are valuable tools for any estates practitioner and particularly for estates litigators.

Addressing Anti-Black Racism and Confronting Unconscious Bias

This year’s keynote speaker was Moya Teklu, a member of Legal Aid Ontario’s General Counsel’s Office and Adjunct Professor at the University of Toronto – Faculty of Law. Ms. Teklu delivered an impactful presentation entitled “Addressing Anti-Black Racism” and provided tips for approaching discussions about race, racism, privilege, and marginalization.

Unconscious bias refers to the rapid judgements about other people and situations that a person makes without awareness of their own thought process. These judgements are formed based on a person’s lived experience, cultural context, and personal background. Legal professionals have a responsibility to develop cultural competencies and awareness of unconscious biases to prevent their interference with the lawyer-client relationship and advocacy. Ms. Teklu’s presentation incorporated many interactive exercises to teach legal professionals how to critically confront and to reduce their unconscious biases in order to combat anti-Black racism within our profession, the legal system, and the community at large.

Best Practices for Technology in the Time of COVID-19

Legal technology has become a hot topic over the past nine months as legal professionals have adapted to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. While technology has allowed legal professionals to carry on work during these unprecedented times, many of the tools we use every day can increase law firms’ susceptibility to cybersecurity threats.

Speakers Colm Brannigan, Mauro Gris, Steven Bradley, and Vicky Ringuette addressed these concerns directly in their presentation entitled “A Brave New Techy World – Advanced Options for Your Practice.” The Presenters touched on product guidance when using platforms including Google Hangouts, Zoom, and Cisco WebEx in order to create safe meeting environments for practitioners and their clients. Some security tips for video conferences include avoiding taking screenshots, using secure passwords, and regularly updating software.

Hull & Hull LLP congratulates FDRIO on yet another informative Conference. For more information on the Conference, visit FDRIO’s website.

Thanks for reading!

Jennifer Philpott

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