20 COGNITIVE BIASES!!!


cognitive bias is often an impulsive mistake in reasoning, evaluating, remembering, decision-making, or other thinking process, often occurring as a result of holding onto one’s preferences, beliefs, emotions, and prejudices regardless of contrary information.

Cognitive biases are impulsive thinking biases which often make you reach the wrong conclusions and lead you into making inaccurate statements. Reality is altered by these cognitive biases and your thinking and decision making process becomes less than perfect often creating mistakes or problems where there shouldn’t be any. Often impulsive emotions are a major reason why the cognitive biases exist in the first place. Emotional impulsive reactions are habitual ways of thinking which dominate the decision making process for most humans and do not require much if any thinking before reacting. Most humans don’t reason or think but are impulsively judgmental to a large degree.

Authority and Respect Bias:

Worth mentioning is that humans tend to be persuaded by or have a greater belief or trust in authority figures and humans that they like, admire, or respect.

Confirmation Bias:

We love to agree with people who agree with us. That is why we only visit websites and read articles that express our political opinions, and why we mostly interact with humans who hold similar views and tastes. We tend to avoid or ignore individuals, groups, and news sources that make us feel uncomfortable or insecure about our views and preferences.

Ingroup or Herd Instinct Bias:

Somewhat similar to the confirmation bias is the ingroup bias, an indication of our innate tribalistic or herd instinct tendencies. This innate impulsive bias helps us to make tighter bonds with people in our own group but performs the exact opposite function for those on the outside. It makes us suspicious, fearful, and even disrespectful and contemptuous of others. The ingroup bias causes us to overestimate the abilities and value of our own immediate group at the expense of people we don’t really know.

Bandwagon Bias:

This is really a takeoff of the ingroup bias which is a tendency for humans to want to go along with the majority in terms of opinions and behavior rather than be the exception to the rule and develop your own opinions and behavior. Humans in general tend to be conformists rather than rebellious non conformists.

Previous Event Bias:

Humans have a tendency to place greater importance on previous events and assume that if something occurred in the past then the chances for repetition of that event in the future are more likely. Thus gamblers erroneously believe that they are on a winning streak despite the fact that the odds against winning are always the same.

Status Quo Bias:

This is our tendency to continue old habits and not try to change to new and perhaps better ones. We have a tendency to order the same types of meals in restaurants and experiment rarely with new choices. We smoke the same brand of cigarettes despite just as good and cheaper ones and stick with brands that we know in general and don’t go for generic equivalents which are just as good. The general summarized attitude is “If it isn’t broken, then don’t fix it.”

Impulse Bias:

We have a tendency to buy what we want in the short run but sometimes buy what we need in the long duration. We prefer to buy donuts and chocolate now but buy healthier foods for the next week’s consumption. Immediate gratification often wins out over delayed gratification and studies have found that those who can delay gratification do better in life and are more responsible.

Inaccurate Generalizations Bias:

This happens when you take just one example and make it into a general rule. Rarely is this attempt at generalization accurate and it is often faulty too. We may hear of one or two women involved in a car accident and make the erroneous generalization that women are worse drivers than men.

Stereotype Bias:

You make decisions biased by ethnic, gender, appearance, or professional stereotypes. You may be asked if both are qualified who would you hire as a car mechanic or nurse, a male or a female? The stereotype of male mechanics and female nurses is hard to overcome and is reflected in hiring practices which theoretically should not be discriminatory. The problem with stereotyping is that generalized group characteristics are unjustly forced on individuals who may greatly deviate from stereotyped group norms and deserve just evaluation.

Always or Never Thinking Bias:

You are too absolute in your thinking and think too many things are yes or no, all or nothing, black or white, always or never, and seldom sometimes, frequently, infrequently or grey. You may believe that the sun never shines during a rain which is generally true in northern areas. However, in Florida, in the summertime there are often 5 or 10 minute showers with the sun shining through the clouds.

Blaming Bias:

Before you uncover the reason for a mistake or a new problem you quickly blame others or yourself for it. There are many cases where circumstances are to blame and no one particular human.

Denial Bias:

Before you uncover the reason for a mistake or new problem you quickly deny that it was your fault or sometimes even deny that it was someone else’s fault. If you trust or like someone a lot then your first reaction may be that they are not to blame for a mistake or problem.

Rule Fanaticism Bias:

You strongly believe that rules are absolute and should be followed unquestioningly all the time. You harshly criticize yourself and others for not following them even though realistically there are exceptions to these rules which should seriously be considered. There are one or more circumstances under which  the rules can be broken but you refuse to accept this reality.

Negative or Positive bias:

You focus too much on either the negative or positive factors and fail to analyze both the negative and the positive events and possibilities. Viewing the local news with all the examples of crime may lead you to pessimistically conclude that crime is getting much worse and you may take extra steps to guard against burglars and other thieves. Negative examples have about 3 times the emotional impact on you than neutral or positive events but there are still many optimists who focus on the positive rather than the negative and feel that things are getting better or at least staying the same.

Pessimistic Fear Bias:

You fear that mostly bad things will happen and often fear the worst case scenario. Being pessimistic about the way things are going in the world is common but it can become a major handicap in your own life if you live in fear of very bad things happening to you and worry about this on a daily basis.

Personalization Bias:

You take things too personally and get easily offended and feel that what humans do and say is a direct reaction to your behavior.

Mind Reading Bias:

You assume that you know what others are thinking without verifying the thoughts with questioning. You may falsely assume that someone is sad rather than tired and greedy about money rather than merely selfinterested and desiring affirmation from others.

Emotional Bias:

You assume that your emotions have validity and that others probably feel the same way that you do. Nowhere is emotional bias more prevalent than in discussions or arguments about religion, politics, and sports.

Fairness Bias:

You think that your idea of fairness is workable and preferable because fundamentally it is your opinion.

Miraculous Thinking Bias:

You think that getting lucky, getting smarter, getting wealthier, finding a mentor, etc. will solve all your problems instantly.

There are more cognitive biases than just 20. If you want more information on cognitive biases done in a slightly different manner then view this link which presents 25 and 12 cognitive biases on YouTube.

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