Updated: Sep 10
Every child should learn about these 50 Cognitive Biases.
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).
Lets learn top 50 biases:
Anchoring. The way in which the first piece of information we hear tends to influence the terms or framing of an entire discussion.
Authority Bias. Putting too much stock in authority figures.
Automation Bias. Over relying on automated systems like GPS or autocorrect.
Availability Cascade. The more people believe (and talk about) something the more likely we are to think it's true.
Availability Heuristic. Why we worry more about rare airplane crashes than objectively much deadlier road accidents. People make judgments based on how easy it is to call an example to mind (and plane crashes are memorable).
Backfire Effect. Repeatedly mentioning a false belief to disprove it sometimes ends up just making people believe it more.
Bandwagon Effect. Everyone likes to jump on a trendy bandwagon.
Barnum Effect (aka Forer Effect). The bias behind the appeal of astrology. We see vague statements as applying specifically to us even when they apply to most everybody.
Belief Bias. Judging an argument not on its own merits but by how plausible we think its conclusion is.
Ben Franklin Effect. We tend to think more positively about people once we've done a favor for them.
Blind Spot. The bias that makes us think we don't have as many biases as other people. You do.
Bystander Effect. Again, not strictly a cognitive bias, but important. Describes how people are less likely to take responsibility to act if they're in a crowd.
Clustering Illusion. The tendency to "see" patterns in random data.
Confirmation Bias. We tend to look for and be more easily convinced by information that confirms our existing beliefs. A big one in politics.
Cryptomnesia. The opposite of the one above. Thinking a true memory is something you imagined.
Curse of Knowledge. Assuming everyone else knows what you know once you've learned something.
Declinism. Romanticizing the past and thinking we live in an age of decline.
Defensive Attribution. Getting more upset at someone who commits a crime we feel we could have fallen victim to ourselves.
Dunning Kruger Effect. This principle states that 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. The opposite is also true -- those with greater skills are often plagued with doubt.
False Consensus. Thinking most people agree with you even when that's not the case.
False Memory. Mistaking something you imagined for a memory.
Framing Effect. Drawing different conclusions from the same information depending on how it's framed.
Fundamental Attribution Error. When someone else is late, it's because they're lazy. When you're late, it was the traffic.
Gambler's Fallacy. Thinking future probabilities are affected by past events. In sports, the hot hand.
Google Effect (aka Digital Amnesia). You're more likely to forget it if you can just Google it.
Groupthink. Also just what it sounds like. Going along with the group to avoid conflict. The downfall of many a large organization.
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, for example.
Ikea Effect. We tend to overvalue things we had a hand in creating.
In-Group Favoritism. We tend to favor those in our in-group versus those who are different from us.
Just-World Hypothesis. The tendency to believe the world is just, so any observed injustice was really deserved.
Law of Triviality (AKA Bike-Shedding). Giving excessive weight to trivial issues while ignoring more important ones.
Moral Luck. Assuming winners are morally superior.
Naive Cynicism. Thinking everyone else is just selfishly out for themselves.
Naive Realism. Thinking we have a better grasp of reality than everyone else.
Optimism Bias. Always seeing the glass as half full.
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.
Pessimism Bias. Always seeing the glass as half empty.
Placebo Effect. This isn't strictly a cognitive bias according to Musk's graphic, but still useful to know. If you think something will work, you're likely to experience a small positive effect whether it really does or not.
Reactance. Doing the opposite of what you're told when you feel bullied or backed into a corner. Very topical.
Self-Serving Bias. Attributing all your successes to skill or effect and all your screw ups to bad luck or a bad situation.
Spotlight Effect. Overestimating how much other people are thinking about you.
Status Quo Bias. People tend to like things to stay the same, even if change would be beneficial.
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).
Suggestibility. Seen most often in children, this is when we mistake an idea or question someone else said for your own memory.
Sunk Cost Fallacy (AKA Escalation of Commitment). Throwing good money (or effort) after bad to avoid facing up to a loss.
Survivorship Bias. We remember the winners and forget about the many, invisible losers. Big in startups.
Tachypsychia. How exhaustion, drugs, or trauma mess with our sense of time.
Third-Person Effect. The belief that others are more affected by a common phenomenon than you are.
Zero-Risk Bias. We prefer to reduce small risks to zero rather than reduce risks by a larger amount that doesn't get them to zero.
Zeigarnik Effect. Uncompleted tasks haunt our brains until we finish them.
“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
“It is harder to crack prejudice than an atom.” - Albert Einstein
“Bias doesn’t come from AI algorithms, it comes from people.” - Cassie Kozyrkov
Thanks for reading…
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