26 Reasons What You Think is Right is Wrong

cognitive hazard
A cognitive bias is something that our minds commonly do to distort our own view of reality. Here are the 26 most studied and widely accepted cognitive biases.

  1. Bandwagon effect – the tendency to do (or believe) things because many other people do (or believe) the same. Related to groupthink, herd behaviour, and manias. Carl Jung pioneered the idea of the collective unconscious which is considered by Jungian psychologists to be responsible for this cognitive bias.
  2. Bias blind spot – the tendency not to compensate for one’s own cognitive biases.
  3. Choice-supportive bias – the tendency to remember one’s choices as better than they actually were.
  4. Confirmation bias – the tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions.
  5. Congruence bias – the tendency to test hypotheses exclusively through direct testing.
  6. Contrast effect – the enhancement or diminishment of a weight or other measurement when compared with recently observed contrasting object.
  7. Déformation professionnelle – the tendency to look at things according to the conventions of one’s own profession, forgetting any broader point of view.
  8. Disconfirmation bias – the tendency for people to extend critical scrutiny to information which contradicts their prior beliefs and uncritically accept information that is congruent with their prior beliefs.
  9. Endowment effect – the tendency for people to value something more as soon as they own it.
  10. Focusing effect – prediction bias occurring when people place too much importance on one aspect of an event; causes error in accurately predicting the utility of a future outcome.
  11. Hyperbolic discounting – the tendency for people to have a stronger preference for more immediate payoffs relative to later payoffs, the closer to the present both payoffs are.
  12. Illusion of control – the tendency for human beings to believe they can control or at least influence outcomes which they clearly cannot.
  13. Impact bias – the tendency for people to overestimate the length or the intensity of the impact of future feeling states.
  14. Information bias – the tendency to seek information even when it cannot affect action.
  15. Loss aversion – the tendency for people to strongly prefer avoiding losses over acquiring gains (see also sunk cost effects)
  16. Neglect of probability – the tendency to completely disregard probability when making a decision under uncertainty.
  17. Mere exposure effect – the tendency for people to express undue liking for things merely because they are familiar with them.
  18. Omission bias – The tendency to judge harmful actions as worse, or less moral, than equally harmful omissions (inactions).
  19. Outcome bias – the tendency to judge a decision by its eventual outcome instead of based on the quality of the decision at the time it was made.
  20. Planning fallacy – the tendency to underestimate task-completion times.
  21. Post-purchase rationalization – the tendency to persuade oneself through rational argument that a purchase was a good value.
  22. Pseudocertainty effect – the tendency to make risk-averse choices if the expected outcome is positive, but make risk-seeking choices to avoid negative outcomes.
  23. Selective perception – the tendency for expectations to affect perception.
  24. Status quo bias – the tendency for people to like things to stay relatively the same.
  25. Von Restorff effect – the tendency for an item that “stands out like a sore thumb” to be more likely to be remembered than other items.
  26. Zero-risk bias – preference for reducing a small risk to zero over a greater reduction in a larger risk.

Oh and, by the way, you’ll never be able to truly gauge any of the biases you might be operating under since it’s not possible to accurately observe a system you’re part of. Now, get out there and delude yourself!

Complete list of cognitive biases – Wikipedia

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    • prawnsforlunch

      Also entitled-

      26 things which differenciate humans from logic machines.

      For me its a partially upetting, partially comforting list… ie its ok to have human faults!

    • Hunabku

      Sorry didn’t get past item number 1. Carl Jung’s “collective unconsciousness” is not directly responsible for herd behavior. I think you need to clarify that as most herd behavior comes from the collective consciousness, which often stems from avoiding the collective unconscious or failure or fear to bring it into consciousness.

    • theothereye

      This makes me think that Wikipedia is therefore wrong:

    • mccallr

      “Oh and, by the way, you’ll never be able to truly gauge any of the biases you might be operating under since it’s not possible to accurately observe a system you’re part of.”

      Yes theoretically this it true but if you could know how your mind works as well as mechanic knows how a car engine does the effect of the biases will be negligible. More complete information lessens the bias effect it seems…

    • Gil

      “Oh and, by the way, you’ll never be able to truly gauge any of the biases you might be operating under since it’s not possible to accurately observe a system you’re part of.”

      That is why mankind tend to think their thought processes are completely wise and correct.. when they are actually not.
      Rom 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.. and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image..

      PROFESSSING THEMSELVES TO BE WISE.. these same people, due to their biases.. become so deluded by their own prejudices that they actually think they are wise when denying or changing the truth about God.. which is foolish if understood outside these biases, because:

      Pro 21:30 There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD.

    • 1scott2

      Dear Gil,

      Please re-read sections 1 through
      26 of the article. Give it a chance.
      Maybe re-read it a few times.

    • Kilowatts

      Don’t you just love it when someone quotes scriptures. The best example of the herd behavior. What do you call it when someone over analyzes typical human behavior? And these reasons seem to be bias against biased people. It’s like trying to totally rid yourself of all bad karma. You would tend to think that having a bias is a bad thing according to this. Know what I mean Vern?

    • http://pixelspotlight.com/ pixelspotlight

      This article is so wrong…there are really only 25 reasons, and I know I’m right! http://pixelspotlight.com/

    • mtnslinger


      You truly exhibit the typical “herd” behavior (Reason #1, Bandwagon Effect), often demonstrated by those who practice unreasoned Bible-bashing ; 1scott2 attacked Gil first with sarcasm, and then you climbed aboard the wagon with a direct frontal attack.

      Rather than attempting a respectful discourse in response to Gil’s points, you both attacked Gil personally because he happens to believe differently than you, (apparently). And after all Kilowatts, aren’t those of us who have spent more than a passing moment contemplating this article all guilty of overanalyzing typical human behavior?

      As far as the title of this article, I disagree with the premise. Just because our biases may have influenced our conlusions does not in and of itself make those conclusions invalid. Some of our beliefs may be true and others not ; but the biases themselves do not have the ability to change the true or false nature of the conclusions reached.

    • 1scott2

      Dear mtnslinger.

      I thought I was being kind.
      (see #4)

    • http://healthbolt.net Wade Meredith

      Haha, loving all the references to the biases in the post as the responders battle it out.

    • birder

      What you call ‘bias’ is the result of education, observation and experience

    • Islandre

      Many of these are not the result of education, in fact even children of a very young age can be shown to have #4 and #5 (probably more). I suspect they are evolutionarily advantageous heuristics.

    • John

      The poor grammar bias ie affect for effect. If they may this mistake what others did they make.
      The strainng for gnat’s and letting elephant’s through bias ie what I just did.
      The “ornithology” bias ie naming all the birds and organizing them and at the end of the day what do you have? a list of birds.

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    • 강생구

      가입만 하면 돈 버는 싸이트를 소개합니다


      하면 돈 버는 싸이트를 소개합니다

      당신은 이
      글을 보시는 순간 이미 행운아 십니다

      이 글은 이글로코가

      가입 후 몇
      개월 후에야 확실히 얼마인지도 모를 돈을 벌 수 있다고

      말하는 그런
      곳이 결코 아닙니다

      가입 후 1개월
      내에 당신에게 눈에 보이는 확실한 수익을 보장합니다

      인터넷상에는 수많은 온라인 사업이 있었습니다

      사업들은 참여만하면 큰 돈을 벌 수 있다고 선전했지만

      실제 그 사업에
      참여하여 돈을 번 사람들은 극소수였습니다


      왜 참여하기만
      하면 돈을 벌 수 있다고 다들 떠드는데

      극소수의 사람들만이 돈을 벌게 되는 걸까요

      이유는 간단합니다

      거의 대부분의
      온라인 사업은 네트워크 사업입니다

      그리고 이러한
      네트워크 사업은 자신과 함께 할 사람을

      돈을 벌 수 있습니다

      또한 자신이
      추천한 사람 역시 자기와 마찬가지로 다른 사람을

      이러한 네트워크 사업으로 돈을 벌 수 있습니다

      다시 말해
      당신이 그러한 사업으로 돈을 벌지 못하는 가장 큰 이유는

      바로 함께
      할 사람을 원활하게 추천하지 못하기 때문입니다

      당신은 이러한 추천의 부담없이 가입만 하면 자신과

      함께 할 사업자가
      자동으로 생긴다면

      즉.다시 말해
      가입만 하면 무조건 돈을 벌 수 있는 사업이 있다면

      참여해 보시겠습니까

      제가 말씀드리는
      내용은 결코 허왕된 얘기가 아닙니다

      추호의 거짓됨이
      없이 가입만 하면 자동으로 하위 사업자기

      자신의 하부에
      배치되고 결론적으로 참여만 하면 무조건

      돈을 벌 수
      있는 사업이 있습니다

      제가 보내드릴
      홈페이지에 무료 가입하시고 무료 정회원 등업 신청하신

      찬찬히 둘러보시고 사업에 대한 궁금한 점은 제게 말씀해

      그리고 지금까지
      보아왔던 또 실제 참여해 보았던 어떠한 온라인 사업과도

      마십시오 이 메일을 접한 당신은 지금으로부터 정확히 3개월

      최소한 몇
      백만원 이상의 돈을 벌게 될 것입니다

      더불어 그
      이후에는 그 액수가 얼마나 될지는 저도 장담 못할 정도로
      커지게 될 것입니다

      다음 보내
      드릴 홈페이지에 방문하셔서 느긋하게 무료 회원가입하신
      후 찬찬히

      둘러보시고 있으면 돈은 저절로 당신의 호주머니로 흘러
      들어 갈 것입니다

      그것도 끊임없이
      마치 틀어놓은 수도꼭지에서 흐르는 물처럼

      당신의 호주머니로 흘러 들어 갈 것입니다

      당신이 돈을
      벌 수 있는 지금까지 겪어보지 못한 새로운 세계로 안내하겠습니다

      결정하셨다면 [제가 이 사업을 하겠습니다]라는 글을 아래

      보내 주십시오
      그러면 당일로 제반 자료를 메일로 보내 드리겠습니다

      그 자료를
      보시고 당장 사업을 시작하시면 되겠습니다  당신이
      이 사업을 하시면

      당신의 인생의
      전환점이 되시는 부자가 될 수 있습니다



      관리자님 대단히 죄송합니다 삭제암호 aaddss

      원치 않으시면 귀 사이트 URL을 메일로 보내주시면
      되겠습니다 대단히 죄송합니다



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    • http://xenophilius.wordpress.com Xenophilius Lovegood

      I wonder what humankind would be like if we were able to genetically improve our brains so we didn’t have these thought flaws. See: Xeno’s Psychic Predictions.

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    • Mineni

      No, I have no opinion. That’s what this page is all about.

    • Garrett

      People are neat. :)

      I wonder how many more constructs we can make with our LANGUAGE.

    • gary
    • EcoRII

      but if what one thinks is right is not, then nothing that is thought is right… meaning the world is wrong.

      I think the world exists.
      Correction: the world doesn’t exist.

      …BUT IT DOES!!??

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      Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. :) Cheers! Sandra. R.

    • NoMan

      In standard philosophic form:

      If what one thinks is right is not,
      then nothing that is thought is right…

      The problem is that there is a leap between your two statements, one which jumps from people (one) to all that is thought (something entirely different) meaning your conclusion is irrelevant because there’s no way to make those premises become true:

      If (A) then (X)
      Therefore (Y)

      Is not a valid argument. To make this correct:

      All thoughts anyone thinks are wrong.
      This is a thought.
      Therefore, it is wrong.

      But that’s an obvious contradiction, which is why solipsism fails logic. The fancy term is “self-referentially incoherent.”

    • uberhaman

      What about the Copying off Wikipedia bias?