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Cognitive Biases that Affects your Decision Making

Jun 12 2019 By Priya

We make thousands of decisions every day from the moment we wake up to the time we close our eyes.

In fact, our life is actually based on the decisions we make, rationally or irrationally.

Be that as it may, we tend to think of ourselves as very rational humans. However, the number of times we’re being irrational is so much more than the number of times we are rational.

We have certain cognitive biases inside our systems that push us to make decisions.

Knowingly or unknowingly these very biases influence us to think and act a certain way.

There are times when we would believe in certain people or things just because for us they’re true.

There are plenty of situations where we’ve favored someone we know over someone we don’t even if they’re wrong.

As human beings, we believe it’s rational when we make our decision based on what most people believe in.

It might not be wrong but cognitive biases make us lose our own values a lot of times.

This is because most of the times we’re ready to take decisions without even analyzing the whole situation.

Here are 8 common cognitive biases that affect your decision making.

Survivorship Bias.

Survivorship bias is when we focus more on successful outcomes while very well overlooking the failures.

It is basically an error that comes from paying more attention only to surviving.

While survival gets more attention, we start to overlook other factors and easily misjudge a situation.

The best example we can think of is how we easily see entrepreneurs achieving their goals and success. But how we tend to easily overlook all the failures they’ve endured in their life.

Self-Enhancing Transmission Bias.

Self-enhancing transmission bias is somewhat similar to survivorship bias. However, the difference is in survivorship bias we tend to overlook other’s failure.

But in self-enhancing transmission bias, we tend to overlook our own failures.

This bias occurs when we tend to share only our success stories while setting aside our failures.

The danger of this bias is that it leads to us having a false perception of reality.

Bandwagon Effect.

Bandwagon simply means taking interest in something just so you could fit in with the crowd.

Therefore, it’s easy to understand what the bandwagon effect really is.

It is when one person makes a decision based on a belief that is adopted by more.

Simply put, the bandwagon is a psychological phenomenon where people do something just because other people are doing it.

This causes people to ignore their independent thought process and their own beliefs.

Affect Heuristic.

As human beings, we are often guilty of making a decision based on our emotions.

To be honest, emotions are very hard to ignore and unless we learn to control it, it can easily manipulate the way we make decisions.

The phenomenon of taking decision based on your emotions is known as affect heuristic.

This is where we let our emotions color our beliefs about the world.

Confirmation Bias.

Each human being is entitled to their own beliefs and perceptions. However, sometimes we let our beliefs take over our decision-making process.

Confirmation bias is when we tend to listen to the information that only confirms our own preconceptions.

It limits intelligent conversation and also inclines us to make false judgment towards people.

Hard-Easy Bias.

As human beings, confidence is one of the most important traits that we possess.

Sometimes it’s hard for us to find the confidence to do certain things.

But sometimes, we tend to overdo it because of overconfidence.

Hard-easy bias is when people underestimate their own ability to perform a certain thing because it’s too easy.

At the same time overestimating their ability to perform a harder task.

Stereotyping.

By just looking at the word you might’ve guessed what it means.

Simply put, stereotyping means judging someone or something based solely on a commonly believed opinion about their “type”.

This bias occurs when people try generalizing characteristics about others based on the groups/race/ethnicity they belong to.

For example, Americans believe that every Asian has chinky eyes and are good in maths.

Blind-Spots Bias.

Finally, one of the biggest biases that affect your decision making is failing to recognize your own cognitive biases.

This failure of recognizing your own cognitive biases is known as blind-spots bias.

And it describes how we notice cognitive and motivational biases in others while easily ignoring it in ourselves.


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