Search Results for “Cognitive Bias”

May 7, 2019

Cognitive Bias

cognitive bias is when someone makes a bad choice that they think is a good choice. This bias is an important part of the study of cognitive psychology, which looks at basic actions of the mind, such as thought, feeling, problem solving, memory, and language.

Cognitive biases are often a side effect of evolutionary changes. Some behaviors that were beneficial for primitive humans and animals are unsuited to modernity. Others are adaptive and may lead to more effective actions in a given context.

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May 9, 2013

Bias Blind Spot

The bias blind spot is the cognitive bias of failing to compensate for one’s own cognitive biases. The term was created by Emily Pronin, a social psychologist from Princeton University’s Department of Psychology, with colleagues Daniel Lin and Lee Ross. Pronin and her co-authors explained to subjects the better-than-average effect (illusory superiority), the halo effect, self-serving bias, and many other cognitive biases.

According to the better-than-average bias, specifically, people are likely to see themselves as inaccurately ‘better than average’ for possible positive traits and ‘less than average’ for negative traits. When subsequently asked how biased they themselves were, subjects rated themselves as being much less vulnerable to those biases than the average person.

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September 20, 2012

Optimism Bias

Optimism

The optimism bias (also known as unrealistic or comparative optimism) is a bias that causes a person to believe that they are less at risk of experiencing a negative event compared to others. There are four factors that cause a person to be optimistically biased: their desired end state, their cognitive mechanisms, the information they have about themselves versus others, and overall mood.

The optimistic bias is seen in a number of situations. For example, people believing that they are less at risk of being a crime victim, smokers believing that they are less likely to contract lung cancer or disease than other smokers, first-time bungee jumpers believing that they are less at risk of an injury than other jumpers, or traders who think they are less exposed to losses in the markets.

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July 30, 2012

Self-Serving Bias

buck passing

A self-serving bias is attributing successes to internal factors and failures to external factors. This bias is a mechanism for individuals to protect or enhance their own self-esteem.

A student who attributes a good grade on an exam to his or her own intelligence and hours of studying but a poor grade to the professor’s poor teaching ability and unfair test questions is exhibiting the self-serving bias. Studies have shown that similar attributions are made in various situations, such as the workplace, interpersonal relationships, sports, and consumer decisions.

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March 23, 2012

Confirmation Bias

uriah heep

Confirmation bias is a tendency of people to favor information that confirms their beliefs or hypotheses. People display this bias when they gather or remember information selectively, or when they interpret it in a biased way. The effect is stronger for emotionally charged issues and for deeply entrenched beliefs. For example, in reading about gun control, people usually prefer sources that affirm their existing attitudes. They also tend to interpret ambiguous evidence as supporting their existing position.

Biased search, interpretation and memory have been invoked to explain attitude polarization (when a disagreement becomes more extreme even though the different parties are exposed to the same evidence), belief perseverance (when beliefs persist after the evidence for them is shown to be false), the irrational primacy effect (a greater reliance on information encountered early in a series), and illusory correlation (when people falsely perceive an association between two events or situations).

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February 28, 2012

Cognitive Dissonance

sour grapes

Cognitive dissonance [dis-uh-nuhs] is a discomfort caused by holding conflicting thoughts or feelings at the same time. In this state, people may feel surprise, dread, guilt, anger, or embarrassment. An example is the conflict between wanting to smoke and knowing that smoking is unhealthy. Reacting to this unpleasant state, people often change their feelings, thoughts or memories so they are less in conflict. For instance, a smoker might change their belief about the likelihood that smoking will make them ill, or they might introduce the idea that there are other benefits that make smoking worth it.

The phrase was coined by American psychologist Leon Festinger in his 1956 book ‘When Prophecy Fails,’ which chronicled the followers of a UFO cult as reality clashed with their fervent belief in an impending apocalypse. The believers met at a predetermined place and time, believing they alone would survive the Earth’s destruction. The appointed time came and passed without incident. They faced acute cognitive dissonance: had they been the victim of a hoax? Had they donated their worldly possessions in vain? Most members chose to believe something less dissonant: the aliens had given earth a second chance, and the group was now empowered to spread the word: earth-spoiling must stop. The group dramatically increased their proselytism despite the failed prophecy.

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June 8, 2011

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

beck institute

thoughts feelings behavior

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a psychotherapeutic approach, a talking therapy, that aims to solve problems concerning dysfunctional emotions, behaviors and cognitions through a goal-oriented, systematic procedure. The title is used in diverse ways to designate behavior therapy, cognitive therapy, and to refer to therapy based upon a combination of basic behavioral and cognitive research.

There is empirical evidence that CBT is effective for the treatment of a variety of problems, including mood, anxiety, personality, eating, substance abuse, and psychotic disorders. Some clinicians and researchers are more cognitive oriented (e.g. cognitive restructuring), while others are more behaviorally oriented (in vivo exposure therapy). Other interventions combine both (e.g. imaginal exposure therapy).

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November 12, 2019

Homo Economicus

Neuroeconomics

The term homo economicus, or economic man, is the sometimes satirical portrayal of humans as agents who are consistently rational, narrowly self-interested, and who pursue their subjectively-defined ends optimally.

In game theory, homo economicus is often modeled through the assumption of perfect rationality. It assumes that agents always act in a way that maximize utility as a consumer and profit as a producer, and are capable of arbitrarily complex deductions towards that end. They will always be capable of thinking through all possible outcomes and choosing that course of action which will result in the best possible result.

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November 22, 2016

Naïve Realism

lee ross

bias blind spot

In social psychology, naïve realism is the human tendency to believe that we see the world around us objectively, and that people who disagree with us must be uninformed, irrational, or biased. It provides a theoretical basis for several other cognitive biases, which are systematic errors in thinking and decision-making.

Naïve realism causes people to exaggerate differences between themselves and others. Psychologists believe that it can spark and exacerbate conflict, as well as create barriers to negotiation through several different mechanisms. 

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October 25, 2016

Einstellung Effect

two-string

nine dots problem

Einstellung [ahyn-stel-luhng] (German: ‘attitude’) is the development of a mechanized state of mind. Often called a ‘problem solving set,’ Einstellung refers to a person’s predisposition to solve a given problem in a specific manner even though better or more appropriate methods of solving the problem exist. The Einstellung effect is the negative effect of previous experience when solving new problems. It has been tested experimentally in many different contexts.

The Einstellung effect occurs when a person is presented with a problem or situation that is similar to problems they have worked through in the past. If the solution (or appropriate behavior) to the problem/situation has been the same in each past experience, the person will likely provide that same response without giving the problem too much thought. This behavior is heuristical (related to mental shortcuts), it is one of the human brain’s ways of finding solutions as efficiently as possible.

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April 20, 2016

Cheerleader Effect

Cheerleader effect

The cheerleader effect, also known as the group attractiveness effect, is the cognitive bias which causes people to think individuals are more attractive when they are in a group. The concept has been backed up by clinical research by psychologists Drew Walker and Edward Vul. The effect occurs because of the brain’s tendency to calculate the average properties of an object when viewing a group.

Walker and Vul proposed that this effect arises due to the interplay of three cognitive phenomena: the human visual system takes ‘ensemble representations’ of faces in a group; perception of individuals is biased towards this average; average faces are more attractive, perhaps due to ‘averaging out of unattractive idiosyncrasies.’

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March 5, 2016

Kindness Priming

priming

pay it forward

Kindness priming is an affect-dependent cognitive effect in which subjects will display a positive affect following exposure to kindness. Individuals who are exposed to an act of kindness – the priming – subsequently notice more of the positive features of the world than they would otherwise. A person receiving a free voucher from a stranger, for example, may become more inclined to perceive the intentions of others around them as good.

It is hypothesized that kindness priming involves the same cognitive circuitry that enables memory priming. By activating neural representations of positive affect, an act of kindness stimulates increased activity in related associative networks. It is therefore more likely that subsequent stimuli will activate these related, positive networks, and so the positive affect continues to be carried forward in a feed forward manner. Additionally, kindness priming has also been shown to inoculate against negative stimuli in the short term, thus temporarily improving an individual’s resilience.

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