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BIAS - Top 50 Cognitive Biases

Bias and prejudice are attitudes to be kept in hand, not attitudes to be avoided. — Charles Curtis

50 Cognitive Biases - Truth vs Perspective from the yees of Bias
Image by Author - Bias

When I started learning about Data Science and Artificial Intelligence.

I came to know about an interesting keyword called “BIAS”.

“Bias doesn’t come from AI algorithms; it comes from people.” — Cassie Kozyrkov

Before that, I didn’t know what to call when my behaviors changed with situations and people.

But now I know.

Bias has a high influence on human psychology.

So, let’s understand what Biases is.

Biases are persistent and widespread psychological tendencies that can be detrimental to objectivity and rationality. For example, one common bias is that women are weak (despite many being very strong).


Everyone should learn about these 50 Cognitive Biases:

1. Anchoring

How the first piece of information we see or hear tends to influence the terms or framing of an entire discussion.

2. Authority Bias

Putting too much reliance on authority figures.

3. Automation Bias

Over relying on automated systems like GPS or Autocorrect.

4. Availability Cascade

The more people believe and talk about something the more likely we are thinking it’s true.

5. Availability Heuristic

We worry more about rare airplane crashes than commonly occur much deadlier road accidents. People make judgments based on how easy it is to bring an example to mind (plane crashes are easy to remember).

6. Backfire Effect

Repeatedly mentioning a false belief to disprove it sometimes ends up making people believe it more.

7. Bandwagon Effect

Everyone likes to jump on a trendy bandwagon.

8. Barnum Effect (aka Forer Effect)

When told by some authority personally, individuals believe that vague, general statements are highly accurate for them.

9. Belief Bias

Judging an argument not on its own merits but by how plausible we think its conclusion is.

10. Ben Franklin Effect

We tend to think more positively about people once we’ve done a favor for them.

11. Blind Spot

It makes us think we don’t have as many biases as other people have.

12. Bystander Effect

Describes how people are less likely to take responsibility to act if they’re in a crowd.

13. Clustering Illusion

Tendency to “see” patterns in random data.

14. Confirmation Bias

We tend to look for and be more easily convinced by information that confirms our existing beliefs, especially in politics.

“It is harder to crack prejudice than an atom.” — Albert Einstein

15. Curse of Knowledge

Assuming everyone knows what, you know once you’ve learned something.

“Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking.” — Leo Tolstoy

16. Diclinism

Romanticizing the past and thinking we live in an age of decline.

17. Defensive Attribution

Getting more upset at someone who commits a crime we feel we could have fallen victim to ourselves.

18. Dunning Kruger Effect

The less competent you are, the more confident you’re likely to be because you’re too incompetent to understand exactly how bad you are.

19. False Consensus

Thinking most people agree with you even when that’s not the case.

20. False Memory or Deja Vu

Mistaking something you imagined for a memory.

21. Framing

Drawing different conclusions from the same information depends on how it’s framed.

22. Fundamental Attribution Error

When someone else is late, it’s because they’re lazy. When you’re late, it is the traffic.

23. Gambler’s Fallacy

Thinking future probabilities are affected by past events. In sports, the hot hand.

24. Google Effect (aka Digital Amnesia)

You’re more likely to forget it if you can just Google it.

25. Groupthink

Going along with the group to avoid conflict. The downfall of many large organizations.

26. Halo Effect

Assuming a person has other positive traits because you observed they have one. Just because someone is confident or beautiful doesn’t mean they are also smart or kind.

27. Ikea Effect

We tend to overvalue things we had a hand in creating or assembling them.

28. Impostor Syndrome

Those with greater skills are often plagued with doubt.

29. In Group Favouritism or Racism

We tend to favor those in our in-group versus those who are different from us.

30. Just-World Hypothesis

The tendency to believe the world is just, so any observed injustice was deserved.

31. Law of Triviality or Bike-Shedding

Giving excessive weight to trivial issues while ignoring more important ones because you don’t know them or do not want to involve complexity.

32. Moral Luck

Assuming winners are morally superior.

33. Naive Cynicism

Thinking everyone else is just selfishly out for themselves.

34. Naive Realism

Thinking we have a better grasp of reality than everyone else.

35. Optimism

Always see the glass as half full.

36. Outgroup Homogeneity Bias

Seeing the diversity within the groups to which you belong but imagining people in groups to which you don’t belong are all alike.

37. Pessimism

Always see the glass as half empty.

38. Placebo Effect

If you think something will work, you’re likely to experience a small positive effect whether it does or not. Use in Medical research a lot.

39. Reactance

Doing the opposite of what you’re told when you feel bullied or backed into a corner.

40. Self-Serving Bias

Attributing all your successes to skill or effect and all your screw-ups to bad luck or a bad situation.

41. Spotlight Effect

Overestimating how much other people are thinking about you. I wrote a detailed article on spotlight effect.

42. Status Quo Bias

People tend to like things to stay the same, even if change would be beneficial.

43. Stereotyping

Just what it sounds like — having general beliefs about entire groups of people and applying them to individuals whether you know them or not.

44. Signal and Noise

Always look for the signal (meaningful information or data) rather than believe in the noise (random or meaningless information).

45. Sunk Cost Fallacy

Throwing good money (or effort) after something bad happens to avoid facing the loss.

46. Survivorship Bias

We remember the winners and forget about the many, invisible losers. Most common in s

47. Status Quo Bias

This is the preference to keep things the same or maintain a previous decision. It reflects a resistance to change and a comfort with familiarity.

48. Third-Person Effect

The belief that others are more affected by a common phenomenon than you are.

49. Tragedy of the Commons

A situation where individual users acting independently and rationally according to their self-interest behave contrary to the best interests of the whole group by depleting a common resource.

50. Zeigarnik Effect

Uncompleted tasks agitate our brains until we finish them.


These mental models provide various lenses through which I can view problems and make decisions from different perspectives.

These also encourage broader thinking and a better understanding of different contexts and situations.

Closing on the two remarkable statements by Great Charlie Munger and Naval Ravikant.

You need a different checklist and different mental models for different companies. I can never make it easy by saying, ‘Here are three things.’ you have to derive it yourself to ingrain it in your head for the rest of your life. — Charlie Munger

I load my head full of mental models. — Naval Ravikant

Thanks for reading and before you go…


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