Something that indirectly affects something else. In economics, a cost or benefit that is not captured in the price mechanism.
Personal biases can be major obstacles in any decision-making process and are as complex as they are numerous. Biases seek to disrupt lucid contemplation of an issue by introducing externalities that are generally not relevant to the decision at hand.
An individual may be biased by a variety of factors, but there are a number of common and very detrimental biases that should be highlighted.
Confirmation bias: This is probably the most common and the most subliminal, as many people naturally exhibit this bias without even knowing it. Often times called selective search for evidence, confirmation bias occurs when decision makers seek out evidence that confirms their previously held beliefs, while discounting or diminishing the impact of evidence in support of differing conclusions.
Anchoring: This is the over-reliance on a single piece of a priori information or experience that affects one's ability to adjust to new potentially relevant information.
Halo effect: This is the distortion of a person's overt positive or negative characteristics that are amplified and applied to other situations or scenarios. Basically, it is the perception that if someone demonstrates well in a certain area, then they will automatically perform well at something else regardless of how interconnected the tasks are.
Overconfidence bias: This is another potentially disruptive personal bias and occurs when a person subjectively overestimates the reliability of their judgments versus an objectively accurate outcome.
Groupthink: This is a bias within groupdecision making that leads the group toward harmony rather than a realistic evaluation of alternatives.
Other personal biases can take on a variety of forms and may extend to either the holder of the bias or to external parties. Personal biases toward information, intelligence, gender, ability, handicap, race, or other closely held beliefs are detrimental to decision-making processes and are often hard to counteract.