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List of cognitive biases

    Cognitive bias is distortion in the way we perceive reality (see also cognitive distortion)
    Some of these have been verified empirically in the field of psychology others are considered general categories of bias

    Emotional biases

    • impact bias the tendency for people to overestimate the length or the intensity of the impact of future feeling states
    • rosy retrospection the tendency to rate past events more positively than they had actually rated them when the event occurred

    Decision making biases

    • anchoring tendency to rely too heavily or "anchor" on one trait or piece of information when making decisions
    • bandwagon effect the tendency to do (or believe) things because many other people do (or believe) the same
    • belief bias the tendency to base assessments on personal beliefs
    • loss aversion the tendency for people to strongly prefer avoiding losses than acquiring gains (see also sunk cost effects]
    • mere exposure effect the tendency to express undue liking for things merely because they are familiar with them
    • planning fallacy the tendency to underestimate task-completion times

    Probability prediction biases

    Many of these biases are often studied for how they effect business and economic decisions and hwo they effect experimental research
    • anthropic bias your evidence is biased by observation selection effects
    • availability error the distortion of one's perceptions of reality due to the tendency to remember one alternative outcome of a situation much more easily than another
    • gambler's fallacy
    • hindsight bias sometimes called the "I-knew-it-all-along" effect is the inclination to see past events as being predictable
    • Positive outcome bias a bias in prediction in which people overestimate the probability of good things happening to them (see also wishful thinking and valence effect)
    • recency effect the tendency to wiegh recent events more than earlier events (see also peak-end rule)
    • primacy effect the tendency to wiegh intial events more than subsequent events

    Social biases

    Most of these biases are labeled as attributional biases
    • Barnum effect the tendency to give high accuracy ratings to descriptions of their personality that supposedly are tailored specifically for them but are in fact vague and general enough to apply to a wide range of people
    • egocentric bias occurs when people claim more responsibility for themselves for the results of a joint action than an outside observer would
    • false consensus effect the tendency for people to overestimate the degree to which others agree with them
    • fundamental attribution error the tendency for people to over-emphasize personality-based explanations for behaviors observed in others while under-emphasizing the role and power of situational influences on the same behavior (see also group attribution error positivity effect andnegativity effect)
    • illusion of asymmetic insight people perceive their knowledge of their peers to surpass their peers' knowledge of them
    • Lake Wobegon effect the human tendency to report flattering beliefs about oneself and believe that one is above average (see also worse-than-average effect and overconfidence effect)
    • notational bias a form of cultural bias in which a notation induces the appearance of a nonexistent natural law
    • outgroup homogeneity bias individuals see members of their own group as being relatively more varied than members of other groups
    • physical stereotype] the tendency to assume that people who are physically attractive also possess other socially desirable personality traits
    • self-serving bias the tendency to claim more responsibility for successes than failures It may also manifest itself as a tendency for people to evaluate ambiguous information in a way beneficial to their interests (see also group-serving bias)
    • trait ascription bias the tendency for people to view themselves as relatively variable in terms of personality behavior and mood while viewing others as much more predictable

    Uncatagorized biases

    Common theoretical causes of some cognitive biases

    • attribution theory especially:
      • salience
    • cognitive dissonance and related:
      • impression management
      • self-perception theory
    • heuristics including:
      • availability heuristic
      • representativeness heuristic


    • Plous S. (1993) The Psychology of Judgment and Decision Making New : McGraw-Hill ISBN 0070504776
    • Gilovich T. (1993) How We Know What Isn't So: The Fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday Life New : The Free Press ISBN 0029117062
    • Kahneman D., Slovic P. & Tversky A. (Eds) (1982) Judgment under : Heuristics and Biases Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press ISBN 0521284147
    • Gilovich T., Griffin D. & Kahneman D. (Eds) (2002) Heuristics and biases: The psychology of intuitive judgment Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press ISBN 0521796792

    See Also