« (...) The lesson here is one of the most powerful in all psychology. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. You’re rarely going to do better than that. Honesty in the future is best predicted by honesty in the past, not by whether a person looks you steadily in the eye or claims a recent religious conversion. Competence as an editor is best predicted by prior performance as an editor, or at least by competence as a writer, and not by how verbally clever a person seems or how large the person’s vocabulary is.
It’s possible to make fewer errors in judgment by following a few simple suggestions.
Remember that all perceptions, judgments, and beliefs are inferences and not direct readouts of reality. This recognition should prompt an appropriate humility about just how certain we should be about our judgments, as well as a recognition that the views of other people that differ from our own may have more validity than our intuitions tell us they do.
Be aware that our schemas affect our construals. Schemas and stereotypes guide our understanding of the world, but they can lead to pitfalls that can be avoided by recognizing the possibility that we may be relying too heavily on them. We can try to recognize our own stereotype-driven judgments as well as recognize those of others.
Remember that incidental, irrelevant perceptions and cognitions can affect our judgment and behavior. Even when we don’t know what those factors might be, we need to be aware that much more is influencing our thinking and behavior than we can be aware of. An important implication is that it will increase accuracy to try to encounter objects and people in as many different circumstances as possible if a judgment about them is important.
Finally, be alert to the possible role of heuristics in producing judgments. Remember that the similarity of objects and events to their prototypes can be a misleading basis for judgments. Remember that causes need not resemble effects in any way. And remember that assessments of the likelihood or frequency of events can be influenced simply by the readiness with which they come to mind.»
in The Bugs in Our Mindware, Richard E. Nisbett, 2016