Saw a fantastic quote tweeted the other day, an excerpt from a book entitled Political Animals: How Our Stone-Age Brain Gets in the Way of Smart Politics. While the book has mixed reviews, the biases are worth taking a gander at…
Here are some of the most common cognitive biases identified by social scientists.
Do any of them privilege the truth? The answer is no. Not one. They privilege survival.
Here’s the rundown:
- Availability Bias – overweighting importance based on memorable/dramatic/easily recalled occurrences
- Perseverence Bias – a type of confirmation bias continuing to believe things that have been proven wrong
- Source Confusion – misattribution of a source of a memory
- Projection Bias – projecting your own motivations (priority, attitude, belief) on other actors (including your future self!)
- Self-Serving Bias – the tendency to see oneself in a favorable light. “It is the belief that individuals tend to ascribe success to their own abilities and efforts, but ascribe failure to external factors”
- Superiority Bias – the “above average effect” – overrating positives, underrating negatives
- Planning Fallacy – programmers are probably intimately familiar with; a type of optimism bias where task difficulty/length is underestimated
- Optimism Bias – believing that you’re less at risk of something bad happening than others
A better book on this stuff might be Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow. Kahneman is a psychologist that won the Nobel Prize Winner in Economics and collaborated for over a decade with Tversky to do seminal research on cognitive biases.