Watch out! Your bias is showing
by Michael Hoffman
Cognitive bias refers to the tendency of our brains to make automatic and sometimes inaccurate judgments or interpretations of information. It happens because our brains have limited capacity and rely on shortcuts to process the overwhelming amount of information we encounter every day. These shortcuts, or biases, can affect how we perceive, remember, and make decisions about things.
For example, confirmation bias is a common cognitive bias where we tend to seek out information that confirms our existing beliefs and ignore or downplay evidence that contradicts them. Another bias called availability bias happens when we give more weight to information that comes easily to mind, even if it’s not representative or accurate.
Cognitive biases can influence our thoughts, perceptions, and actions without us realizing it. They can sometimes lead us to make errors in judgment or hold onto false beliefs. Being aware of these biases can help us think more critically and make more objective decisions by considering different perspectives and seeking out reliable information.
Here are 12 of the most common cognative biases to consider:
Confirmation Bias: The tendency to seek and favor information that confirms our existing beliefs and opinions, while dismissing or ignoring contradictory evidence.
Ingroup Bias: The inclination to favor and perceive one’s own social or cultural group as superior or more valuable than others.
Gambler’s Fallacy: The mistaken belief that previous events or outcomes influence future probabilities, leading to erroneous predictions and expectations.
Post-Purchase Rationalization: The cognitive process of justifying and convincing oneself that a purchase or decision was the right one, despite evidence to the contrary.
Neglecting Probability: The tendency to overlook or underestimate the importance of statistical probabilities and instead rely on emotional or subjective judgments.
Observational Selection Bias: The perception that certain events or items are occurring more frequently than before, when in reality, our attention has been selectively drawn to them.
Status-Quo Bias: The preference for maintaining the current state of affairs and resistance to change, often based on the assumption that alternative choices will be inferior.
Negativity Bias: The tendency to pay more attention to and give more weight to negative information or experiences compared to positive ones.
Bandwagon Effect: The inclination to adopt or align with the opinions, behaviors, or trends of a larger group, often disregarding individual judgment or critical thinking.
Projection Bias: The assumption that others think and perceive the world in the same way as oneself, overestimating the consensus on personal beliefs and opinions.
The Current Moment Bias: The tendency to prioritize immediate gratification or pleasure over long-term goals or consequences.
Anchoring Effect: The cognitive bias of relying heavily on initial information or values when making judgments or comparisons, even if they are irrelevant or arbitrary.