Six Cognitive Biases Hinder How To Think Straight

Do you know the true capacity of the human brain?
Our brain has the production capabilities of 10 to the power of 16 processes per second, faster than any existing computer. Phenomenal, right? But it isn’t perfect and the most critical imperfections are our brain’s cognitive biases tinkering with our rational thought. We don’t often notice how often we fall into their trap and to make matters worse, we refuse to admit it. So here are the ones to watch out for:


1. Affect Heuristic

Coined by psychologist Paul Slovic, this is basically our capacity to let emotions colour our beliefs about the world. You find certain arguments more persuasive depending on a political affiliation and this affects how you see risks and benefits of certain things. For example, most would think developing cancer is more dangerous than being alone when you choke on something, which can happen.


2. Neglecting Probability

The term, as described by Cass Sunstein, is how we can’t accurately grasp a suitable sense of peril and grief. For instance, very few worry about driving but many fear stepping into an aeroplane but well obviously, another car smashing into yours and killing you has a higher probability rate. This is also why people worry more about terrorist attacks than other possibilities. We often overestimate the risks of a harmless activity while underestimating a more dangerous one.


3. Anchoring Effect or the Relativity Trap

These terms refer to our tendency to compare a limited set of items because we fixate on one value or number and compare it to everything else. You can notice this while shopping during sales; price differences are valued higher than the overall price. It shouldn’t surprise you to know that restaurants use this effect to their advantage by featuring very expensive entrees in their menus with comparatively cheaper options with your choice being the latter. This effect is also why we usually pick middle options.


4. Negativity Bias

Most put more emphasis on negative experiences rather than positive ones, as they believe the bad is stronger, making them perceive more threats than opportunities in a circumstance. It’s scientifically considered to be an evolutionary adaption or our selective attention that makes negative stimuli more significant. This explains your habit of remembering your mistakes and the mistakes of people around you better than the actual good decisions and actions are done in your favour.


5. Ideometer Effect

Ouija board believers, you’re in for a real treat. The Ideometer Effect happens when an unconscious physical reaction is caused because of an idea, just like how sad thoughts tear you up. This is why you feel that Ouija boards have a mind of their own when it’s really just the players unconsciously moving the piece.


6. Inter-group Bias

Here we have the bias that illuminates origins of prejudice and discrimination. As human beings, we tend to view people in our social or cultural groups differently than people in other groups. And regrettably enough, researchers state we’re not often aware of our preferences for our groups’ people.

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