The Cognitive Biases Tricking Your Brain

Interesting discussion of cognitive biases. I was not familiar with a few of the ones mentioned in the article, or was not familiar with the name given to them, particularly base rate bias and projection bias.

I also thought the discussion of how to counter confirmation bias was interesting:

He addresses the logical fallacy of confirmation bias, explaining that people’s tendency, when testing a hypothesis they’re inclined to believe, is to seek examples confirming it. But Nisbett points out that no matter how many such examples we gather, we can never prove the proposition. The right thing to do is to look for cases that would disprove it.

I feel like education has vastly improved my ability to identify and avoid biases. However, sometimes I feel it’s just given me more tools to justify my opinions.

Can training effectively reduce cognitive biases? How do we reduce the negative impact of cognitive biases in individuals and society?

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Ooh, also… Does anyone know of any interesting or lesser known cognitive biases?

Nisbett’s second-favorite example is that economists, who have absorbed the lessons of the sunk-cost fallacy, routinely walk out of bad movies and leave bad restaurant meals uneaten.

Made me chuckle, I definitely did this more often after hearing about the sunken cost fallacy.

…notably fundamental attribution error, whereby, when assessing someone’s behavior, we put too much weight on his or her personal attributes and too little on external factors, many of which can be measured with statistics.

I was thinking, maybe WEIRD (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic) people could be more prone to this bias because they expect more consistency between a person’s behaviors across their relationships.

I kept this graph for years.