Cognitive Biases

Courtesy of Elon Musk, some things we should know to think logically.

  1. Fundamental Attribution Error. When someone is late, it’s because they’re lazy. But if you’re late, it was the traffic.
  2. Self-Serving Bias. Attributing your successes to your skill and your screw ups to bad luck.
  3. In-Group Favoritism. Tendency to favor those in our group over those who are outside our group.
  4. Bandwagon Effect. Jump on a trendy bandwagon.
  5. Groupthink. Going along with the group to avoid conflict.
  6. Halo Effect. Assuming a person has other positive traits because you observed they have one.
  7. Moral Luck. Assuming winners are morally superior.
  8. False Consensus. Thinking that most people agree with you even when that’s not true.
  9. Curse of Knowledge. Thinking everyone else knows what you know once you’ve learned something.
  10. Spotlight Effect. Overestimating how much other people think about you.
  11. Availability Heuristic. Worrying more about rare airplane crashes than more probable road accidents. People judge based on examples they easily recall.
  12. Defensive Attribution. Being more upset at someone who commits a crime that we could have fallen victim to.
  13. Just-World Hypothesis. Believing the world is just, so any observed injustice was deserved.
  14. Naive Realism. Thinking we have a better grasp of reality than everyone else.
  15. Naive Cynicism. Thinking everyone else is just selfishly out for themselves.
  16. Forer Effect (Barnum Effect). The appeal of astrology, e.g., thinking vague statements apply specifically to us even when they apply to almost everyone.
  17. 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. The opposite is also true — those with greater skills are often plagued with doubt.
  18. Anchoring. The way in which the first piece of information we hear tends to influence the terms or framing of an entire discussion.
  19. Automation Bias. Over relying on automated systems like GPS or autocorrect.
  20. Google Effect (Digital Amnesia). You’re more likely to forget it if you can just Google it.
  21. Reactance. Doing the opposite of what you’re told when you feel bullied or backed into a corner.
  22. Confirmation Bias. We are easily convinced by information that confirms our existing beliefs.
  23. Backfire Effect. Repeating a false belief sometimes makes people believe it more.
  24. Third-Person Effect. The belief that others are more affected by a common phenomenon than you are.
  25. Belief Bias. Judging an argument by how plausible we think its conclusion is.
  26. Availability Cascade. The more people believe (and talk about) something the more likely they think it’s true.
  27. Declinism. Romanticizing the past and thinking we live in an age of decline.
  28. Status Quo Bias. People like things to stay the same, even if change would be beneficial.
  29. Sunk Cost Fallacy. Throwing good money after bad to avoid facing up to a loss.
  30. Gambler’s Fallacy. Thinking that past events determine future probabilities.
  31. Zero-Risk Bias. Reducing small risks to zero rather than reducing larger risks.
  32. Framing Effect. Drawing different conclusions from the same information depending on how it’s framed.
  33. Stereotyping. Assuming general beliefs about a group applies to the individuals in a group.
  34. Outgroup Homogeneity Bias. Seeing diversity in our groups but imagining other groups are not diverse
  35. Authority Bias. Putting too much confidence in authority figures.
  36. Placebo Effect. If you think something will work, you’re likely to experience a small positive effect.
  37. Survivorship Bias. We remember the winners and forget about the many losers.
  38. Tachypsychia. Exhaustion, drugs, or trauma mess with our sense of time.
  39. Law of Triviality. Giving excessive priority to trivial issues while ignoring more important ones.
  40. Zeigarnik Effect. Uncompleted tasks haunt our brains until we finish them.
  41. Ikea Effect. Tendency to overvalue things we helped create.
  42. Ben Franklin Effect. To think more positively about people once we’ve done a favor for them.
  43. Bystander Effect. People are less likely to take responsibility to act if they’re in a crowd.
  44. Suggestibility. To think an idea someone else said was your own.
  45. False Memory. To think something you imagined is a memory.
  46. Cryptomnesia. To think something you remember is imagined.
  47. Clustering Illusion. Seeing patterns in random data.
  48. Pessimism Bias. Always seeing the glass as half empty.
  49. Optimism Bias. Always seeing the glass as half full.
  50. Blind Spot Bias. The bias that makes us think we don’t have as many biases as other people.

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