What Are Cognitive Biases?

Lying to ourselves is more deeply ingrained than lying to others.

- Fyodor Dostoevsky

Podcast of the Day

Thinking is hard, and most of the time we rely on simple psychological mechanisms that can lead us astray. In this episode of the Social Science Bites podcast, the Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman, author of Thinking, Fast and Slow, talks to Nigel Warburton about biases in our reasoning.

Listen to Daniel Kahneman on Bias

Video of the Day

Short Article of the Day

...Coming from a group of academics in the nineteen-seventies, the contention that people can’t think straight was shocking. It isn’t any longer. Thousands of subsequent experiments have confirmed (and elaborated on) this finding. As everyone who’s followed the research—or even occasionally picked up a copy of Psychology Today—knows, any graduate student with a clipboard can demonstrate that reasonable-seeming people are often totally irrational. Rarely has this insight seemed more relevant than it does right now. Still, an essential puzzle remains: How did we come to be this way?...

Continue reading Elizabeth Colbert's article: Why Facts Don't Change Our Minds

Further Reading

Cognitive biases are tendencies to think in certain ways that can lead to systematic deviations from a standard of rationality or good judgment, and are often studied in psychology and behavioral economics.

Although the reality of these biases is confirmed by replicable research, there are often controversies about how to classify these biases or how to explain them. Some are effects of information-processing rules (i.e., mental shortcuts), called heuristics, that the brain uses to produce decisions or judgments. Such effects are called cognitive biases. Biases have a variety of forms and appear as cognitive ("cold") bias, such as mental noise, or motivational ("hot") bias, such as when beliefs are distorted by wishful thinking. Both effects can be present at the same time.

There are also controversies over some of these biases as to whether they count as useless or irrational, or whether they result in useful attitudes or behavior...

Continue reading the Wikipedia article: List of cognitive biases

Bonus Webcomic

Related Topics

 AttentionCognitionDecision TheoryEvolutionary Psychology | IgnoranceIntelligence | Intuition | Moral Psychology | Neuroscience

Want to learn more? Sign up via email to get the best resources on a new topic each day. Or you can follow on Twitter or Facebook.

Leave a Reply