Biases in our thinking

Thinking and interaction are everyday phenomena, which often accidentally include different stereotypes and biases. The exercise promotes an open discussion culture.

Understand diversity – and yourself

The simulation helps to understand the phenomena related to thinking and interaction. The exercise provides background on everyday phenomena such as stereotyping and “not invented here” type of thinking and helps the team to discuss actions and decision-making. The exercise promotes a culture of open discussion. The variables are based on research on the subject (in particular Kahnemann). The story provides a background for a facilitated discussion of the team members’ experiences in collaboration and decision-making. The story enables open discussion and therefore drawing conclusions for the team’s activities. Your company is sponsoring the Tall Ships Races and your team spends team days at the sea. You encounter different situations related to work as well as sailing. In these situations, the team evaluates themselves in relation to the biases in our thinking. After each situation there is a discussion, where the decisions are justified, others’ views are heard, and learning takes place on the meaning of different types of biases and how different people experience them in their own thinking and in the team’s operations.

CLAIM 2: Group thinking

Who of you best controls their “group thinking” bias?

CLAIM 3: Stereotyping

Who of you best controls their “stereotypification” bias?

CLAIM 4: Empathy gap

Who of you best recognises the need for empathy?

CLAIM 5: Avoiding threats

Who of you does not overestimate the threats?

Research background

The simulation includes a collection of different biases in our thinking, collected from different sources, the most important being Kahneman’s Thinking fast and slow (2011). Over a hundred biases have been identified and those most relevant to the work community have been selected for the simulation. In practice, the simulation includes biases that stimulate discussions and are thought-provoking, such as confirmation bias, group thinking bias and status quo bias. This simulation is different from the others in that many players are not familiar with the topics covered. Therefore, in addition to the team discussion and peer learning, the simulation has a clear orientation goal: participants become aware of the different biases.


  • Familiarise the participants to the cognitive biases of individual and team thinking and to their effects in the work community
  • Emphasise individual differences in our ways of thinking and the strengths and weaknesses of different individuals
  • Enable critical and analytical discussion of team practices and their development

For whom

  • For teams of 4-16 people. The content of the simulation is demanding as a concept: The biases in our thinking require more introspection than, for example, preferences for different kinds of tasks.
  • We recommend at least a brief introduction to the topic before the simulation. We can provide a 20-30 minute introduction before the simulation, or the customer can carry out a more extensive introduction by themselves.
  • The duration of the simulation is about 2 hours.