You can be the very best version of yourself by recognizing 50 cognitive biases of the modern world in 2022

6 min read
Last updated: Jan 26, 2022

Despite the fact that we think we know things, there are many cognitive biases that can cause problems. Cognitive biases are widely accepted as part of the human condition.

Despite the rapid evolution of our lives and work, systematic errors creep into the way we think and make our decisions. But knowing about these biases can help you make more informed decisions and recognize when you’re off the mark.

50 Cognitive Biases

  • Fundamental Attribution Error: When we judge others, we do so based on their personality or fundamental character, but when we judge ourselves, we do it based on our current situation.
  • Self-Serving Bias: It’s not our fault when we fail, but the responsibility for our successes lies with us.
  • In-Group Favoritism: A member of the in-group is preferred over a member of the out-group.
  • Bandwagon Effect: As more people adopt ideas, fads, and beliefs, they gain popularity.
  • Groupthink: Several irrational decisions are made to minimize conflict because of the desire for conformity and harmony in the group.
  • Halo Effect: Positive traits are more likely to spill over into other areas of a person’s personality. (The same applies to negative traits.)
  • Moral Luck: A positive outcome leads to better moral standing; a negative outcome leads to worse moral standing.
  • False Consensus: Our belief is that more people agree with us than actually do.
  • Curse of Knowledge: We assume that everyone else knows what we know.
  • Spotlight Effect: The attention we pay to our looks and behaviors is often overestimated.
  • Availability Heuristic: When making judgments, we rely on the examples we can think of at the time.
  • Defensive Attribution: Our hidden fear of serious mishaps makes us less inclined to blame the victim if we relate to the victim.
  • Just-World Hypothesis: Due to our inclination to believe the world to be just, we believe injustice is justified.

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  • Naïve Realism: According to us, we observe objective reality, and the rest of the world is irrational, uninformed, or biased.
  • Naïve Cynicism: Our belief is that we see objective truth and other people’s intentions/actions have a higher egocentric bias than they actually do.
  • Forer Effect (aka Barnum Effect): People tend to attribute their personalities to vague statements even if the statements are applicable to many different people.
  • Dunning-Kruger Effect: When you don’t know much, you’re more confident. When you know a lot, you’re less confident.
  • Anchoring: When making a decision, we heavily rely on the first piece of information presented.
  • Automation Bias: Automated systems are often relied upon too heavily, sometimes trusting the automated systems too much to make the correct decisions.
  • Google Effect (aka Digital Amnesia): It is common for us to overlook information that is easily found through a search engine.
  • Reactance: When we perceive danger to our personal freedoms, we do the opposite of what we’re told.
  • Confirmation Bias: Information that confirms our perceptions is more likely to be remembered.
  • Backfire Effect: Our beliefs can be confirmed by disproving evidence.
  • Third-Person Effect: Mass media consumption is believed to be more detrimental to others than to ourselves.
  • Belief Bias: The strength of an argument is not determined by how strongly it supports the conclusion, but by how plausible it seems to us.
  • Availability Cascade: As a result of our need for social acceptance, collective beliefs gain credibility through public reiteration.
  • Declinism: Most of us tend to romanticize the past and view the future negatively, believing that societies/institutions are generally in decline.
  • Status Quo Bias: Most of us prefer things to stay the same; changes from the baseline are regarded as losses.
  • Sunk Cost Fallacy (aka Escalation of Commitment): Even if we face negative results, we prefer to invest in things that cost us something rather than alter our investments.
  • Gambler’s Fallacy: We believe that past events have an impact on future possibilities.
  • Zero-Risk Bias: Even if there is another option that reduces more risks overall, we prefer to reduce small risks to zero.
  • Framing Effect: Based on how information is presented, we can draw different conclusions.
  • Stereotyping: Even when we don’t know anything about an individual, we tend to adopt generalized beliefs about the group’s members.
  • Outgroup Homogeneity Bias: Members of out-groups are perceived as homogeneous, while those of our own in-groups are perceived as more diverse.
  • Authority Bias: Often, we trust authority figures and are influenced by their opinions.
  • Placebo Effect: Treatments that we believe will work will often have a small physiological effect.
  • Survivorship Bias: The majority of us tend to focus on things that have survived a process while overlooking those that have failed.
  • Tachypsychia: When we are traumatized, drugged, or physically exerted, we perceive time differently.
  • Law of Triviality (aka “Bike-Shedding”): A disproportionate amount of attention is given to trivial issues, while complex issues are often avoided.
  • Zeigarnik Effect: The memories of incomplete tasks are stronger than those of completed tasks.
  • IKEA Effect: Things we created partially have a higher value to us.
  • Ben Franklin Effect: As a rule of thumb, we’re more likely to do another favor for someone if we’ve already done one for them than if we’ve received one from them.
  • Bystander Effect: It is less likely that we will help a victim when there are other people around.
  • Suggestibility: Sometimes, especially when we are young, we mistake memories for ideas suggested by a questioner.
  • False Memory: We confuse imagination with real memories.
  • Cryptomnesia: We mistake real memories for imagination.
  • Clustering Illusion: A random sample of data is analyzed for patterns and clusters.
  • Pessimism Bias: Overestimation of bad outcomes is sometimes a problem.
  • Optimism Bias: It’s sometimes easy for us to overestimate our chances of success.
  • Blind Spot Bias: Although we don’t think we are biased, we see the bias in others more than ourselves.

Ending Note:

The more complex the world becomes, the more we tend to unconsciously adopt new patterns of behaviors. Finding out how we respond to challenges, and the implications of those choices can help us stay on the right path, which eventually helps you to be the very best version of yourself.

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