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A quick note about cognitive biases.
What are they?
Why is knowing about them crucial?
All humans make systematic errors in thinking—hurting our judgment.
Being aware of cognitive biases will make you less susceptible to them.
We judge everyone else on character but blame our shortcomings on the situation.
Example: If Jane is late for work, she’s lazy. If you’re late for work, it’s because of traffic.
We chalk failures up to the situation while taking all the credit for our successes.
Example: You earned that A through hard work & skill. Meanwhile, you got a poor grade because of external factors: bad professor, team assignment, etc.
We privilege those in our ingroup over those in an outgroup.
Example: Jackie works in your division, so you value her more than John, who works over in accounting.
Concepts, trends, and beliefs catch on as more people validate them.
Example: Jill believes buying an LV bag will make her look chic. Janet does, too.
We make irrational decisions just to avoid conflict.
Example: Jackie wants to go bowling. Joe wants to buy a cake for a dinner party. You suggest getting a cake in the shape of a bowling ball.
Focusing on one trait (positive or negative) as being indicative of the whole.
Example: “Brad must be a great entrepreneur; he’s amazing at golf!”
Equating moral superiority with a positive outcome and moral inferiority with a negative outcome.
Example: He won the election because he was morally superior to the loser.
We assume others agree with us by default.
Example: “Everybody knows that!”
We believe that everyone knows the same things we do.
Example: Jane gets frustrated with her son for not understanding multiplication right away.
We think people are paying far more attention to us than they are.
Example: Josh is worried everyone at work will notice he needs new shoes.
We make snap judgments based on the most recent information.
Example: When an airline reports a crash, ticket sales go down until people forget about the incident.
The tendency to blame others for your mistakes out of self-protection.
Example: Brad scapegoats Jill for submitting a bad company report even though he did all the research.
Believing the world to be inherently just, we interpret injustice as bad karma.
Example: Jackie broke her ankle because she made fun of Jill’s medical condition.
We privilege our “objective” view of reality over all others.
Example: “I see things for what they are—everyone else is misinformed.”
The assumption that others act only out of self-interest.
Example: “The only reason the boss gave us a bonus is to squeeze extra work out of us.”
We see ourselves reflected in things that could apply to many.
Example: “Today’s horoscope was spot-on!”
The overestimation of ability when one has little experience.
Example: The market firm’s new hire was confident he’d designed the perfect ad campaign, but it ended up losing money.
We make decisions based on first impressions.
Example: “The label says gluten-free. It must be good for me!”
We put too much trust in automated systems to fix our mistakes.
Example: “Grammarly suggested it; therefore, it’s correct.”
We don’t store information in our brains that’s conveniently found online.
Example: “Who was that actor in the latest Marvel film? I’ve Googled it like ten times...”
We go against orders, especially when we see them as an assault on our freedoms.
Example: “I don’t care if your sign says masks are required. I can do whatever I want.”
We seek out (and retain) information that confirms what we already believe.
Example: Flat Earthers base their beliefs on a feeling, ignoring all evidence to the contrary.
We see ourselves as more immune to media than others.
Example: “See how brainwashed you’ve become?!”
We tend to accept the outcome of an argument only if it matches what we believe.
Example: All fish can swim, and whales can swim; therefore, whales are fish.
You interpret evidence that disproves your belief as a confirmation of it.
Example: You insist the world is flat because NASA faked all those photographs of Earth.
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