Our minds need to make a meaning out of the information they process so they will know how to sort, arrange and organize the input.
If there is not enough meaning our minds tend to fill in the blanks, create patterns and add the most suitable meaning to the data based on our beliefs.
Mental Biases that Occur When We Do Not Enough Meaning:
Mental Bias: Confabulation
Confabulation is a disturbance of memory, defined as the production of fabricated, distorted, or misinterpreted memories about oneself or the world, without the conscious intention to deceive.
If you had a dream that you were somewhere with your family, let’s say on a trip, when you were a small kid, you might think to yourself that you actually were there. You might remember details from your dream, or unconsciously make up details as you try to remember the trip, and claim that you actually were there on a trip. Sometimes you might remember a situation differently from other people who participated in the same situation because of this bias. You all remember different details and you all skew the memory just a tiny bit to suit your filtering mechanism.
Mental Bias: Clustering Illusion
Clustering Illusion is the tendency to erroneously consider the inevitable streaks or clusters arising in small samples from random distributions to be non random and following a certain pattern.
If you roll a dice and you start to see some pattern arising, let’s say you roll a 3 and then you roll 6, and this happens three times in a row, you will think that if you roll a 3 you will certainly roll a 6 after it, and most likely will be wrong. You will think there is a pattern while these are just random dice rolls. It’s similar thing that happens when people try to find patterns in the stock market.
Mental Bias: Insensitivity To Sample Size
Insensitivity To Sample Size is a cognitive fallacy that occurs when people judge the probability of obtaining a sample statistic without respect to the sample size.
If you observe a behavior of a sample of 10 people and see that 2 out of 10 people have IQ of less than 100 you might assume that the percentage of people with IQ below 100 is 20. However, a sample of 100 people might show less than 10 people with IQ below 100 and the percentage is therefore less than 20. This is because variation is more likely in smaller samples, but people may not expect this.
Mental Bias: Neglect Of Probability
Neglect Of Probability is the tendency to disregard probability when making a decision under uncertainty. Small risks are typically either neglected entirely or hugely overrated.
If you go to a bar and, let’s say there is a person you would like to approach, you would most likely think that there are two probable scenarios, they will either like you back or reject you. This thinking, however, is flawed because you are neglecting all the probabilities of the spectrum that are between the two extremes you take as probable. The other person might like you as a friend, they might reject you but introduce you to their friends where you will find someone you would like more. Approaching them might lead you to a conversation that will help you at work. Or, you might simply be less shy to approach someone else after them who will turn out to be a perfect match for you.
Mental Bias: Anecdotal Fallacy
Anecdotal Fallacy is the cognitive fallacy to overestimate the probability of some event because of a recent memory, a striking anecdote, or a news story. The emotion outweighs stronger evidence.
If you see a news report with an image or a video of a shark attack, you will most likely overestimate the probability of a shark attacking you when you go into the water because of the intense emotions the image or the video will make you feel. Shark attacks are really rare but since media can use such story because it makes viral news it will use it without much consideration. As they say “when a dog bites a man that is not news, but when a man bites a dog that is news.”
Mental Bias: Illusion Of Validity
Illusion Of Validity is a cognitive bias that happens when a person overestimates their ability to interpret and predict accurately the outcome when analyzing a set of data that shows a very consistent pattern.
If you know of a person who has 3 marriages, and now they are divorcing, you would most likely assume their fourth marriage will be a disaster. However, your prediction is based of analyzing the number of his marriages assuming they are all failed marriages because of something he did, and not anything else. The person might have got someone pregnant really young so they got together really young, however they decided to separate. He might have lost his second wife who he truly loved and found someone to be together with as a third wife, someone to be with just not to be alone. And now he realized it was a decision based on fear and pain and it’s much healthier to divorce. He might be healed and ready to love again. Based on this analysis his fourth marriage might be the best one.
Mental Bias: Recency Illusion
Recency Illusion is the false impression that a word or language usage is of recent origin when it is long established. It is the tendency to think something appearing modern hasn’t been around till now.
If you think speaking with the intensifier “really,” as in “it was a really wonderful experience,” is somehow modern you are wrong. This term and intensifier has been used since the 18th century.
Mental Bias: Masked Man Fallacy
Masked Man Fallacy is the tendency to assume someone’s identity or something as a fact based on something in comparison not being true. It’s assuming a true based on something else’s false.
If you know a person who you believe does not have good fighting skills and a person in mask appears on TV with good fighting skills as a vigilante you would assume the person you know is not the vigilante because they don’t know how to fight.
Mental Bias: Gambler’s Fallacy
Gambler’s Fallacy is the mistaken belief that, if something happens more frequently than normal during a given period, it will happen less frequently in the future.
If you gamble on what number a dice will roll, and the dice rolls the number 6 five times, you would assume the chances of rolling another 6 are higher while in fact they are always the same.
Mental Bias: Hot Hand Fallacy
Hot Hand Fallacy is the purported phenomenon that a person who experiences a successful outcome with a random event has a greater probability of success in further attempts.
If you play basketball and score 3 points five times in a row you would assume it’s your day or that you have a so called hot hand for scoring 3 points. This will become a self fulfilling prophecy as the sole belief will give you subconscious confidence and improve your performance. In reality, this thinking is considered fallacious because it is without hard evidence that scoring a couple of times in a row is anyhow connected or has any physical proof with better further performance, except for the sole subjective belief of the performer that subconsciously improves their performance.
Mental Bias: Illusory Correlation
Illusory Correlation is the phenomenon of perceiving a relationship between variables (typically people, events, or behaviors) even when no such relationship exists.
If you think of someone and they call you on your phone at that exact moment you would think that you are somehow telepathically connected. However, you are neglecting the fact that you have thought of them so many other times when they didn’t call you. You have thought of many other people who didn’t call you. Yet, you are taking this small amount of moments to assume it is somehow connected with you thinking about them. We think of someone almost every minute, and we mostly think of people close to us. There is a small chance this person you think of will call you. Especially if they are your close friend because there are just a couple of people you call and you are in the close friends group who call each other most often.
Mental Bias: Pareidolia
Pareidolia is a psychological phenomenon that causes people to see patterns in a random stimulus. This often leads to people assigning human characteristics to objects.
If you have a toy and you play with it you assume it has a certain character. But this is nothing more than your own psyche projecting a type of character upon this object. We project our human psyche upon objects and animals because that’s the filter through what we see the world. The reality, however, is much less human. A toy is a toy, an animal is an animal.
Mental Bias: Anthropomorphism
Anthropomorphism is the mental phenomena of attribution human traits, emotions, or intentions to non human entities like animals, toys and even technology.
If you have a toy of a bear and you have a certain name for the bear, you think it has empathy for you as you hug it and tell your worries, you are under an influence of this bias. This is anthropomorphism in action.
Mental Bias: Group Attribution Error
Group Attribution Error is the mental tendency to believe that the characteristics of an individual group member are reflective of the group as a whole, or a group’s decision reflect the preferences of some members.
If you think certain group of people are leftist just because you know one person who belongs in this group that it is, you are under influence of this mental fallacy or phenomena.
Mental Bias: Ultimate Attribution Error
Ultimate Attribution Error is the mental fallacy that offers an explanation for how one person views different causes of negative and positive behavior in ingroup and outgroup members.
If you belong in a certain group, let’s say you are a vegan, and you see people who do not belong in this group as making a mistake not following your principles and values, you assume they are a negative person just because they do not follow what you follow, you are under an influence of this mental fallacy. If you see a famous celebrity and you think they are living a happy life just because they belong in the group of celebrities, you are under an influence of this bias.
Mental Bias: Stereotyping
Stereotyping is the mental tendency to over generalize and create a belief about a particular category of people for each individual in that category based on an assumption of that group.
If you see a homeless person you assume they are dangerous, poor, dirty and maybe even bad. You have a stereotype for all homeless people believing that these attributes, dangerous, poor, dirty and bad, are true for each or most of the people within the category of homeless people. However, not all homeless people have these attributes. Some homeless people are not even poor, it’s their choice to live on the street. But over generalization helps our mind to generate a quick decision and spend less energy.
Mental Bias: Essentialism
Essentialism is the mental tendency to believe that every entity has a set of attributes that are necessary to its identity and function. It is a belief there is an essence that automatically adds unchangeable attributes.
If you see a parent claiming their child is just naturally a crier you are witnessing this bias in action. The child might have had predispositions based on DNA but it is also taught that way.
Mental Bias: Functional Fixedness
Functional Fixedness is a cognitive bias that limits a person to use an object only in the way it is traditionally used. It is seeing of things as already determined and prevents experimentation.
If you use a pencil for writing a homework and your teacher says that pen is for homework and pencil is for exercises than she is under an influence of this bias.
Mental Bias: Moral Credential Effect
Moral Credential Effect is a bias that occurs when a person’s track record of doing something good establishes in them an unconscious ethical endorsement and justification to do something wrong.
If you go to the gym to workout you probably watch over your diet. But if you have a really intense exercise you might think to yourself that you deserve a meal that goes against your diet. The right you do with exercising does not justify your decision to go against your diet. Another example is someone who is vegan for a long period of time, and someone orders a delicious steak in front of them, so the vegan decides since they followed this way of eating for so long, they can let themselves have one steak. Their subjective ethical goodness of not eating meat has nothing to do with their choice to eat the steak. It’s their desire to eat the stake, but they use their track record of doing something good as a justification.
Mental Bias: Just World Hypothesis
Just World Hypothesis is the cognitive bias that a person’s actions are inherently inclined to bring morally fair consequences to that person, all noble actions are being rewarded and all evil is eventually punished.
If you were wronged in some way and there is nothing you can do to make things even with the person who wronged you, you will most likely expect that karma or some other force to make things right for you. If you do good you will expect that your good actions will be rewarded. But in reality there is no promise that this will be the cause. What’s just for you might be unjust for someone else. Being good and being bad is subjective, but the causality of reality follows objective rules.
Mental Bias: Argument From Fallacy
Argument From Fallacy is a mental flaw of analyzing an argument and inferring that, since it contains a fallacy, its conclusion must be false. Just because one detail is false, the point of the argument is false.
If you argue with someone that they are not smart because they did something stupid and that their IQ was proven to be below 90 and they reply that they are smart because their IQ was 93, than you are looking at this fallacy.
Mental Bias: Authority Bias
Authority Bias is the tendency to attribute greater accuracy to the opinion of an authority figure, unrelated to its content, and be more influenced by that opinion even if their knowledge about the subject is low.
If you speak to your teacher in school and they say eating vegetables is not that healthy, you will believe this statement more than if one of your classmates tells you that eating vegetables is healthy.
Mental Bias: Automation Bias
Automation Bias is the propensity for humans to favor suggestions from automated decision making systems and to ignore contradictory information made without automation, even if it is correct.
If you use some device like computer you probably have some form of protection on it like an antivirus software. If you sense that your computer is not running properly you might check with the antivirus and scan it. If the antivirus scans your computer and says there are no threats you will trust this information more than your human hunch that there is something wrong with the device. However, the antivirus might be infected also, or it might overlook some aspects like a hardware malfunction. So you might not take action and your device might suffer additional damage, but if you trusted your human hunch you would have taken the device to the service and prevented the additional damage. This is the fallacy in action.
Mental Bias: Bandwagon Effect
Bandwagon Effect is a psychological phenomenon in which people do something primarily because other people are doing it, regardless of their own beliefs, which they may ignore or override.
If you see many people drinking alcohol, you will probably get a drink yourself, even though consuming alcohol is not good for you. If you see many people complaining, you will probably start complaining too, even though complaining creates a negative mindset. If you hear a lot of people investing in something, let’s say bitcoin, you will consider investing in bitcoins also, even though this might be a financial bubble and you have no idea what you are investing into. All of these decisions are influenced by this bias.
Mental Bias: Placebo Effect
Placebo Effect is the phenomena of benefiting from something not because of the properties of that thing but because of the subject’s beliefs that they will benefit from it.
If your hand hurts and you go to a doctor you will trust what the doctor will give you to remedy the pain. If the doctor gives you a sugar pill but tells you that it is a pill that will reduce the pain and heal your hand, and you believe this, the pain in your hand will reduce not because of the properties of the sugar pill but due to the fact that you believe the pill’s properties will reduce your hand’s pain. Your hand might even heal itself.
Mental Bias: Out Group Homogeneity Bias
Out Group Homogeneity Bias is the mental fallacy of thinking that people who do not belong in a certain group are more similar to each other than the people who belong in the group.
If you are from a country that goes into a war with another country, you will see the people from the other country as all the same, as evil, as the side who is wrong. This is because, according for your mind, you are not close enough to these people, they are a threat, you are different countries, they are strangers, it’s safer and much more energy saving to see them as similar.
Mental Bias: Cross Race Effect
Cross Race Effect is the tendency to more easily recognize faces of the race that one is most familiar with, than from any other race they are not as familiar with.
If you go to China and see Chinese people walking on the street you would think that they are all the same compared to the group you belong, let’s say it’s Caucasian. You would recognize people within your Caucasian group more easily, and you can see their differences without a problem, but you fail to see this for the Asian group of people.
Mental Bias: In Group Bias
In Group Bias is a pattern of favoring members of one’s in group over out group members. This can be expressed in evaluation of others wrongly due to the sole fact they do not belong within your group.
If you play some kind of a sport, let’s say hockey, and you play against another team in a very important tournament, you will see your teammates as slightly better individuals than the members of the opposing team. You will evaluate the people from the other team as worse people than the people in your team without any kind of hard evidence. This is due to the fact that both of the teams are after a reward and it is much more beneficial for you to favor your group because if your group wins you all benefit.
Mental Bias: Halo Effect
Halo Effect is the tendency for an impression created in one area to influence opinion in another area. It’s a type of an immediate judgment based on an impression that has very little to do with the judging area.
If you see a celebrity sitting in a bar, you will be intimidated to go and speak with them. You will see them as somehow better individuals than any other person in the bar even though you have no idea who exactly is in the bar, maybe someone who is your greatest match in personality, someone who is more successful, maybe the celebrity has a worse personality than most people in that bar. But because of this bias you would judge them higher in the social hierarchy for the sole fact that they are celebrity.
Mental Bias: Cheerleader Effect
Cheerleader Effect is the cognitive bias which causes people to think individuals are more attractive when they are in a group rather than observing them individually.
If you see a group of people together, walking, laughing, having a good time, you will perceive all of them as more attractive just because they are together. But if you would have seen each member individually their attraction level would not have been that high as seeing them together in a group. This bias works for all genders, it’s a mental fallacy to observe a group of people as an entity and giving that entity the sum of all of its members’ qualities or characteristics, as well as giving these qualities and characteristics to all the members of the perceived entity.
Mental Bias: Positivity Effect
Positivity Effect is the ability to constructively analyze a situation where the desired results are not achieved, but still obtain positive feedback that assists our future progression.
If some of your friends gets angry and fights someone else, you will most likely comfort your friend after the fight that the other person deserved it, or that he needed to defend himself. This is how you use positive details and project negative details to color the scenario in your and your friend’s favor.
Mental Bias: Not Invented Here
Not Invented Here is a stance adopted by social or institutional cultures that avoid using or buying already existing products, research, standards, knowledge because of their external origins and costs.
If you have a certain idea about the advancement of technology and someone else suggests another idea, you will disregard their idea and reject it by default because it is from the outside, it’s not one of your own making.
Mental Bias: Reactive Devaluation
Reactive Devaluation is a cognitive bias that occurs when a proposal is devalued if it appears to originate from an antagonist or someone with a bad reputation in some area.
If a member from the political party that’s against the one you are identifying with proposes an idea that has nothing to do with politics, you will reject it or feel repulsion towards it by default just because it comes from a person you consider as an antagonist in the political story you are following.
Mental Bias: Well Traveled Road Effect
Well Traveled Road Effect is a cognitive bias where frequently travelled routes are assessed as taking a shorter time than unfamiliar routes.
If there is a route you travel through every day you most likely think this route is the shortest way to where you go, let’s say work. If someone presents an alternative route, you would immediately assume it’s not worth it and that it probably takes longer to go through it. This is because when you have the same route every day your brain uses less energy to evaluate possible ways of how you should reach your destination. Since the route is the same, your mind already has a choice and this saves you mental energy. So the new route that is suggested might be shorter, but your mind perceives it as longer because it knows it will take more energy for it to evaluate it, unlike using the default route that it takes no energy for it to evaluate as it is already tested. Your mind is not measuring distance in this case, but rather mental energy consumption, and it translates mental energy consumption as distance. That’s why a new suggested route might seem longer.
Mental Bias: Mental Accounting
Mental Accounting is a mental fallacy where individuals classify personal funds differently and therefore are prone to irrational decision making in their spending and investment behavior.
If you worked one day and you earned 100$ you would most likely value them enough to not spend them all at once. You would most likely use some of it for groceries, save some of it, and spend some for personal pleasure. However, if after you spend these 100$ you won another 100$ as a price, you would not value these 100$ the same. You would most likely go out and buy drinks for your friends, or spend most of them on personal pleasure without much care. But in reality, both 100$ bills are with the exact same value, only we value them differently based on how we have acquired them, and this personal subjectivity has nothing to do with the core value of those funds. We also do this with budgets. If we have a budget for investing and budget for spending our value for these funds is different.
Mental Bias: Appeal To Probability Fallacy
Appeal To Probability Fallacy is the logical fallacy of taking something for granted because it would probably be the case, or might possibly be the case, without considering an alternative scenario.
If you hear that the weather is going to be bad the next couple of days and you decide to go out without an umbrella you would think it will rain. Even though bad weather might mean just cold temperatures and clouds, you would assume that if there is possibility for rain, it will most likely rain. Just because there is possibility of something being true, does not make it true. Just because there is a possibility of something happening does not mean it will ever happen.
Mental Bias: Normalcy Bias
Normalcy Bias is a mental fallacy that causes people to underestimate both the likelihood of a disaster and its possible effects, because they believe things will always function the way things normally have.
If you were told that there is global warming and that the climate is changing and soon the ice of Antarctica will melt and many major cities will be flooded, you will most likely underestimate this natural disaster because the effects of it can slightly be felt. If we are told that an asteroid is coming to hit our planet, we will not panic immediately because things around us function normally, in comparison with the scenario of being chased by a serial killer, in this case you will panic in terror. However, the outcome of both scenarios is similar, the difference is in the normalcy of your surroundings.
Mental Bias: Murphy’s Law
Murphy’s Law is a mental bias that follows a belief telling if anything can go wrong will go wrong, and when something sometimes goes wrong people attribute it to this statement.
If you go by your day you would most likely ignore the noises on the street, the noises of people and dogs barking. However, if you want to film something you would most likely stumble upon some of these noises that happen all the time and are ignored by you, and you will think some external force is trying to mess with your video. Things go wrong and things go right but when you have this bias you will pin point all the things that went wrong and attribute it to some unwritten law ignoring all the times something went right, and all the times these nuisances occurred in reality without affecting you.
Mental Bias: Zero Sum Bias
Zero Sum Bias is a cognitive bias that describes when an individual thinks that one situation is like a zero sum game, where one person’s gain would be another’s loss.
If you love someone and they show love for you equally back it’s all good. But if you love the same person and they do not show the same affection towards you, even though they might still love you with all their heart, you will hold back your affection also because you would assume loving them more means they love you less and you lose. In reality love is love, if you love someone you love them, there is no more or less loving. People tend to count the number of times they called their loved ones, and if they called them more times than their loved ones called them, then they would intentionally resist calling their loved ones thinking they are losing the game of love. If you show love for someone more than they do for you, it’s not counted against you in some imaginary game, and they do not love you less, in fact, they might love you even more for it.
Mental Bias: Survivorship Bias
Survivorship Bias is the logical error of concentrating on the people or things that made it past some selection process and overlooking those that did not, typically because of their lack of visibility.
If you watch a video of someone really successful who dropped out of college you would assume that one of the key elements of becoming successful is dropping out of college. However, you are overlooking all the people who are higher in number that dropped out of college and did not succeeded, just because they are not as visible and popular as the successful person who dropped out of college.
Mental Bias: Subadditivity Effect
Subadditivity Effect is the tendency to judge the probability of the whole to be less than the probabilities of the parts. People tend to judge the probabilities of the whole to be less than the probabilities of the parts.
If you are asked to give the percentage of sodas being sold at a food bar, the percentage of coffees being sold at the same food bar, and the percentage of other beverages being sold at the same food bar you would give, let’ say, 50% for the sodas, 40% for the coffees and 5% for other beverages. However, if you are asked to give the percentage of beverages sold at the food bar you would give an answer of, let’s say 75%, and that’s a smaller percent than 95% that’s the total sum in the previous answer. This is because we underestimate percentages of whole groups and overestimate percentages of smaller parts because of lack of statistical prediction skills.
Mental Bias: Denomination Effect
Denomination Effect is a cognitive bias suggesting that people may be less likely to spend larger currency denominations than their equivalent value in smaller denominations.
If you have one 100$ bill and 20 5$ bills you would resist spending or giving the 100$ bill more even though the 20 5$ bills account to the same value of 100$ just because they are smaller denominations. You will spend the 5$ bills faster, and you will give them much easier than the 100$ bill and reducing it to smaller denominations because it holds greater value for you even though it’s the same value in total.
Mental Bias: Magic Number 7+-2
Magic Number 7+-2 is the mental fallacy of humans that states average adults can store between 5 and 9 items in their short term memory because of our limited mental capacity to hold objects in working memory.
If you are shown 10 items and you need to remember as many as you can in less than 30 seconds you would most likely remember from 5 to maximum 9 of the items that are presented to you because of the limits to your mental capacity to hold objects in working memory, remember them and recall them. Most humans are like this.
Mental Bias: Illusion Of Transparency
Illusion Of Transparency is a tendency for people to overestimate the degree to which their personal mental state is known by others, and overestimate how well they understand others’ personal mental states.
If you need to speak publicly in front of an audience it is very likely that you will have positive anxiety before giving the speech. As you go on the stage and start speaking, you will feel your heart pounding, you will start looking at people and see their facial expressions. Someone might frown, someone might look away, someone might keep their gaze at you, others might laugh and one of the people might yawn. You will assume that these people know how you feel, that they know how nervous you are and that their expressions are directed towards you. However, in reality nobody knows how you feel. In fact, it’s very likely that they see you as more confident than them since you speak in front of them. Their reactions are directed towards their own personal things, it’s highly unlikely that they frown at you. And if you don’t think this is the case, just think about people who spoke publicly in front of you. Did you know how they felt? Did you know they also felt anxious, all of them? Of course you didn’t. You thought they do this all the time and they don’t feel any nervousness. But in reality everyone is nervous before giving a public speech no matter how much they do it. This proves the fact of this bias that we overestimate how much others know of our mental state and how much we know of others’ mental states. In reality we are just guessing.
Mental Bias: Curse Of Knowledge
Curse Of Knowledge is a cognitive bias that occurs when an individual, communicating with other individuals, unknowingly assumes that the others have the background to understand what they speak about.
If you are a teacher and a new student enters the class that is a novice, you would most likely assume that they understand the subject you are teaching on a level as everyone else. If you start talking about your work to your friends who know nothing about it you would assume they can understand what you are talking about, your work’s slang, the technical details you automatically do and don’t even think about and you would assume your friends can fill the blindspots you are not telling because you can fill them for yourself. This is because we find hard to see through other people’s perception.
Mental Bias: Spotlight Effect
Spotlight Effect is the phenomenon in which people tend to believe they are being noticed more than they really are. We are often wrong about how much others notice us because we are at the center of our own world.
If you go out with a dirty shirt you would most likely think that every stranger who passes by you notices that your shirt is dirty. In reality almost nobody will notice your shirt unless they stop to talk with you for a while. This is because everyone is in their own little world, just as you are, they are too worried if others notice something about them unaware that others are also worried. Rarely anybody notices something about the other.
Mental Bias: Extrinsic Incentives Error
Extrinsic Incentives Error is a bias where people attribute more to extrinsic incentives such as monetary reward, than to intrinsic incentives such as learning a new skill when weighing the motives of others.
If you were asked what is the main incentive of a politician you would most likely attribute the amount of money and power they can acquire with their position. If you were suddenly elected as a president and someone asked you what is your main incentive, and even if there was no way for anyone to know the answer, you would say that your main incentive is something in the terms of doing something meaningful and helping the world. We usually attribute extrinsic incentives to others because we are unaware of their moral values, especially people in powerful positions. The bigger the power an individual has the less we trust them and their moral standards. This is because someone with low level of power cannot make as big of a negative impact if it is being wrongly trusted than someone with a lot of power.
Mental Bias: Illusion Of External Agency
Illusion Of External Agency is a mental bias that makes people believe self generated satisfactions are caused by an external agent because of illusions making the agent seem influential, insightful, or benevolent.
If you were told that you will be listening to a song generated by some new Smart Player, you’ll be pretty excited. But the song will be chosen based on a questionary you would need to fill, and the song will be mostly suited for your character according to a Smart Algorithm that will calculate your answers and come up with the song that is special just for you. If you were told this before you hear the song, you would most certainly rate the Smart Player and the song higher than if you were told this after you listened to the song. You would attribute the pleasure the song gave you to the fake Smart Player that just generated a random song because you were told it works, and you would keep using it and believing it generates songs that are special for you. You would like the songs more just because you were given a fake story about the program that generates you those songs.
Mental Bias: Illusion Of Asymmetric Insight
Illusion Of Asymmetric Insight is a cognitive bias whereby people perceive their knowledge they have of others to surpass other people’s knowledge of them.
If you were asked to rate from 1 to 100 where 100 is the highest, how much do you know of your friend’s real self you would answer something that it’s more than 50 for sure. But if you were asked how much your friend know about the real you, your answer would be a lesser value than the one you gave about you knowing your friend. And we are all thinking this about each other, we all think we know others better than they know us. This is because we perceive only other people’s mask or persona while we know all of our masks and personas. But in reality other people might know crucial things about us that might tremendously help us become a better version of ourselves, things that we are blind to. And you know such things about others too. These things go way beyond the personas we have in front of others.
Mental Bias: Telescoping Effect
Telescoping Effect is a mental bias whereby people perceive recent events as being more remote than they are and distant events as being more recent than they are.
If you think of something insignificant you did year and a half ago and a significant event you clearly remember that was 3 and a half years ago you would have the illusion of these two memories being closer to each other than they are. You might even perceive the 3 year old memory as more recent than the insignificant memory that’s 1 year old. Memories older than 3 years usually start being perceived as more recent. This usually happens when we look back at our high school years and how fast time passed. Old people tend to recall events from their childhood as more recent than memories from their midlife years.
Mental Bias: Rosy Retrospection
Rosy Retrospection is a mental fallacy where people rate past events from their memory more positively than they had actually rated them when the event occurred at real time.
If you remember the days you used to go to school you would certainly look at them with nostalgia and you would see them as positive times. But the reality is that when you went to school you didn’t see those times as all positive. In fact, those days might have been much harder for you compared to your present days. But you don’t remember the pain, the anxiety, the coldness of the mornings when you needed to get up and go learn something you didn’t want to learn, to do your boring homework, have much less control over your daily schedule. In reality and in all probability, those days did have good and positive times for you but just like every period of your life. We are distant from the pain and negative feelings of the past and we pick just the fermented positive memories constructing a cluster of positivity over the past events that’s a much distorted version of the reality we went through.
Mental Bias: Hindsight Bias
Hindsight Bias is the inclination, after an event has occurred, to see the event as having been predictable, despite there having no objective basis or information for predicting the event in reality.
If you win a main reward of money on some game like lottery you would think back and recall how you felt before you won. You would most likely point to a weird feeling you had that morning, or the day you decided the numbers you are going to play, you would start perceiving signs that were telling you would win, some random conversations that might have foretold that you are going to win. You might say that you knew somehow you were going to win, that something inside you was telling you, that you had the feeling. This bias might even distort the sequence and shape of your memories to fit the story you are trying to tell to yourself that you could have predicted the event of you winning the reward of money. But in reality all of this is within your imagination. The feeling you had that morning is probably something you imagined or exaggerated. And if you didn’t win you wouldn’t have even remembered that you had a feeling. All those random events that you try to find a pattern in are not correlated with you winning. It’s easy to think back and say we felt something, but we rarely feel something, do it and it turns out that we are right. And most of the times we feel something it turns out to be wrong. But finding some pattern when we look back gives us a sense of control that’s only an illusion giving us security in the midst of the uncertainty we live in.
Mental Bias: Outcome Bias
Outcome Bias is an error made in evaluating the quality of a decision when the outcome of that decision is already known. It’s judging the decision by its ultimate outcome instead of the knowledge of the time it was made.
If you decide to stay home one night and not go out, and the friends who went out say that the night was awesome, you would judge the quality of your decision as bad. But at the time you made the decision you couldn’t have possibly known that the night would be awesome. All you knew was that you are tired and you would rather stay at home than go out and party, it was a good and logical decision at the time you were making it based on the knowledge you had and the variables you could calculate.
Mental Bias: Moral Luck
Moral Luck is a mental bias whereby a moral agent is assigned moral blame or praise for an action even if it is clear that the agent didn’t have full control over the action and the consequences.
If you go to some bar and on the way you see someone bothering a girl in the dark valley, and you are the only person there, it’s morally right to help the girl in distress. You might approach the person and shout at them. Let’s say you are strong and you hit them to save the girl. But what if you hitting them actually kills them. The police shows, and you are blamed for killing a man. Now let’s say you don’t decide to help the girl, and something bad happens to her, if this is revealed to the world you would be shamed for your cowardly action. If this was just a social experiment filmed by a camera, and you are filmed walking away, you will be shamed for sure. The girl might be actually the guy’s wife and they are just arguing. The girl might be actually bothering the guy. You have no knowledge of these details and you have no control over the consequences of your action that depend mainly on those details. All you know is what’s morally right, and doing what’s morally right sometimes can result in negative consequences that you have no control over, and you will be blamed based on your actions and their consequences even though you had no control over them.
Mental Bias: Declinism
Declinism is a mental bias that makes us think the past situation of a certain community has been better than what the future situation will be it’s the belief that a society or institution is tending towards decline.
If you ask older people about how was the situation in the country you live in when they were young, they would praise it. They would describe the country as going perfectly and every system as working much smoother than it is now. In reality they are forgetting about the negative aspects of the country in their time, they are ignoring positive aspects of today and they are making a distorted comparison.
Mental Bias: Impact Bias
Impact Bias is the tendency for people to overestimate the length or the intensity of future emotional states based on incorrect predictions about how they will feel.
If you think about losing your job, and how you would feel if such thing happens, you will predict that your emotional state will be much worse than it will actually be. There was certainly something that happened to you, that you didn’t want to happen, but when it happened you didn’t actually feel as bad as you thought. This is because we overestimate the intensity and length of our emotional states.
Mental Bias: Pessimism Bias
Pessimism Bias is the overestimation of the probabilities and harmful effects of negative future events. This bias is most common in depressed individuals.
If you were asked to flip a coin and predict how many times you will predict it correctly on what side the coin will land, you will in all probability underestimate your score. We are wired to predict things more pessimistically, especially when it comes to gambling, because this keeps us from taking big risks that might have big negative results. However, the fact is that we overestimate pessimistic scenarios and underestimate positive ones.
Mental Bias: Planning Fallacy
Planning Fallacy is a phenomenon in which predictions about how much time will be needed to complete a future task are more optimistic than reality and underestimate the time needed for completion.
If you get excited about starting a business you will most likely underestimate how much time and effort you would need to put in order to realize your plan.
Mental Bias: Time Saving Bias
Time Saving Bias is a mental fallacy that describes people’s tendency to misestimate the time that could be saved or lost when increasing or decreasing speed.
If you drive a car at 20 miles per hour and your destination is 30 minutes away you would assume that the faster you drive the sooner you’ll get there. This is correct. However, let’s say you increase your speed to 30 miles per hour, your estimated time to arrive will be reduced by 10 minutes. And you would assume that if you drive faster the time will reduce linearly and double. That’s where we are incorrect. 40 miles per hour reduces 5 more minutes. Driving 50 miles per hour reduces 3 more minutes. 60 miles per hour reduces 2 more minutes. So it’s better to drive 30 miles per hour than speed up to 60. 10 more miles faster is as same as 30 more miles after those 10. But we tend to believe that if we increase 10 more miles the time reduction will double.
Mental Bias: Pro Innovation Bias
Pro Innovation Bias is the belief that an innovation should be adopted by whole society without the need of alteration and tweaking. The innovator is strongly biased that they cannot see its limitations or weaknesses.
If you are asked to create the perfect product, you would put a lot of energy and effort into it. And after some time you will come up to an idea that’s perfect in your mind. You will look at this idea and at its every detail and create a product that it’s the most perfect in your opinion. Let’s say this product is a board game, and as you tested the board game you believe it’s really fun and perfect to play. However, unless you test it with at least 100 people you cannot know if this is true for sure. And if someone of these 100 people finds some aspects boring, or unbalanced, you would think there is something wrong with them. You would keep promoting your game instead of using the testing player’s feedback to alter your board game and tweak it to make it better. It’s because you designed it to suit your interests not other people’s interests.
Mental Bias: Projection Bias
Projection Bias is a mental fallacy to assume that others think, feel, believe, and behave much like they do. As well as falsely assume that the way we think, feel, believe and behave will stay the same.
If you remember the things you liked when you were in high school you would most likely find it hard to believe that you actually liked those tastes, whatever they are, fashion, music, food, types of partners. This false assumption is because of this bias. We also think that the way we think and behave, the things we believe should be what normal people also think, do and believe. However, we can’t say that we are the parameter for normal.
Mental Bias: Restraint Bias
Restraint Bias is a tendency for people to overestimate their ability to control impulsive behavior. They think they have greater self control than they actually do.
If you ask someone who smokes cigarettes if they are addicted, most people will tell you that they can stop smoking whenever they want, as if they are not addicted. In reality they are overestimating the self control they think they have.
Mental Bias: Self Consistency Bias
Self Consistency Bias is the false idea that we are more consistent in our attitudes, opinions, and beliefs than we actually are. We’re unable to see changes in thoughts and beliefs thinking we always thought the same way.
If you think of something from your past you regret you didn’t do you would most likely project the thinking and belief systems you have right now to the self from that past moment. However, in that past time you thought much differently, you knew less, you were aware of different things, you believed different beliefs, you felt different emotions and you had different opinions than you do right now. You think you always thought the same way unable to see the changes in your thinking, beliefs, desires, awareness and opinions.