“There is no such thing as immaculate perception.” — Jerry Kang
Welcome to the Biases library on SourcesOfInsight.com!
I created this biases library originally so that I could learn and practices biases in a more systematic way.
I had stumbled on biases here and there, or occasionally bumped into a big list, but I wanted something simpler. I wanted to know common biases, I wanted to know a full list of biases, and I wanted to be able to dive deeper into themes of biases.
I figured that by understanding biases at a deeper level, I could think, act, and make decisions better.
And I would also better understand why people do what they do.
What is a Bias?
Bias is the subtle lens through which our experiences and perceptions are filtered, influencing our thoughts, decisions, and judgments without us even realizing it.
A bias is a systematic and often unconscious inclination or preference.
This inclination or preference could be for a particular point of view, person, group, or outcome.
And this inclination or preference can lead to unfair or inaccurate judgments and decisions.
Biases can affect our perceptions, beliefs, and behaviors.
Biases often stem from our experiences, cultural influences, or cognitive shortcuts our brains use to process information.
Recognizing and addressing biases is important for making fair and objective decisions in various aspects of life.
Know Your Biases to Become a Better Thinker
Understanding the different biases can help us become better critical thinkers and make more informed decisions in our work, life, and school.
By recognizing the various biases that affect our thinking, feeling, and behavior, we can overcome them and make more objective assessments of the world around us.
The key is to be mindful of our thought processes and to actively question our assumptions. By doing so, we can make more accurate judgments, avoid making hasty decisions, and ultimately lead more successful and fulfilling lives.
Learn and practice recognizing the biases so you can sharpen your critical thinking skills and improve your decision-making abilities.
12 Common Biases
12 Cognitive Biases that Impact Our Every Day Lives — To warm up, you can start with the 12 cognitive biases we all have to contend with each day. Here is a quick summary of each of the 12 cognitive biases:
- Anchoring Bias: Anchoring bias tethers our judgments to initial information, often leading us to make decisions based on that anchor, even when it’s not relevant.
- Availability Heuristic Bias: Availability heuristic bias skews our decisions by favoring easily recalled information, potentially overlooking less memorable but crucial data.
- Bandwagon Effect: The bandwagon effect influences us to follow the crowd, sometimes causing us to adopt opinions or behaviors simply because others are doing so.
- Confirmation Bias: Confirmation bias subtly steers us toward seeking and favoring information that aligns with our existing beliefs, reinforcing our preconceptions.
- Fundamental Attribution Error: The fundamental attribution error leads us to attribute others’ actions to their character, while attributing our own actions to situational factors.
- Halo Effect: The halo effect clouds our judgment by letting one positive trait overshadow an individual’s overall capabilities or qualities.
- Hindsight Bias: Hindsight bias distorts our recollection of past events, making them appear more predictable after they’ve already occurred.
- Loss Aversion Bias: “Loss aversion bias drives us to fear losses more than we value equivalent gains, leading to cautious decision-making.”
- Negativity Bias: Negativity bias causes us to give greater weight to negative information or experiences, often overshadowing positive aspects.
- Overconfidence Bias: Overconfidence bias inflates our belief in our own abilities, leading us to overestimate our knowledge or skills.
- Self-Serving Bias: Self-serving bias subtly skews our attributions of success to our abilities and efforts, while attributing failures to external factors.
- Sunk Cost Fallacy: The sunk cost fallacy traps us into making irrational decisions by considering past investments that should have no bearing on current choices.
Big List of Biases
Big List of Biases Cheat Sheet — Scroll through a large set of biases organized by types of biases. I created my Big List of Biases so that I could have a simple index of biases.
With my Big List of Biases Cheat Sheet, it’s easy to see at a glance, all the most common biases clustered into themes.
You can use this to practice learning the types of biases and the names of biases.
You can then click into each the biases by themes so you can learn more about each specific bias.
Types of Biases
To make the biases more useful, I grouped them into themes and categories.
Within each set of biases, you can see the most common ones, along with examples, and how you can practice recognizing and addressing the bias.
Here are explanations and examples of different types of biases:
- Attention Biases
- Attitude and Belief Biases
- Communication Biases
- Cultural Biases
- Decision-Making Biases
- Emotional Biases
- Evaluation Biases
- Investment and Commitment Biases
- Language Biases
- Motivational Biases
- Perception and Memory Biases
- Probability and Randomness Biases
- Psychological Biases
- Research and Writing Biases
- Self-Control Biases
- Social Influence and Conformity Biases
- Time and Resource Estimation Biases
Practice Recognizing and Overcoming Biases
In our exploration of biases within the Biases Library, we’ve exposed the invisible forces that shape our thoughts, decisions, and judgments.
Jerry Kang’s wise words remind us that there’s no such thing as immaculate perception.
We’ve examined the core of biases, understanding not just what they are, but why they matter.
From the 12 common biases that touch our daily lives to the extensive list of biases categorized by themes, we’ve navigated a complex landscape of human cognition.
Armed with this knowledge, we have the power to challenge and overcome biases, fostering a world where fairness, objectivity, and informed decisions reign.
Remember that our journey towards bias awareness is a transformative one, not just for ourselves but for the broader society we impact.
It’s a journey towards becoming better thinkers, more conscious decision-makers, and ultimately, better versions of ourselves.