List of psychological biases

 •  Filed under behavioral economics and psychology
  • Aversion to idleness (bias for action)
  • Cognitive dissonance
    • Rationalizing a prior purchase
    • Explaining away unethical behavior
    • Refusal to process new information
  • Outcome bias (evaluating a choice based on realized consequences, rather than the quality of the decision at the time)
  • Extrinsic incentives effect
  • The anchoring effect
    • Related: the compromise effect (subscriptions)
  • Availability bias (the Linda experiment)
  • The pratfall effect (You are more likable if competent but NOT perfect - spill your coffee... You are fallible, and that's fine.)
  • The spotlight effect: overestimating the attention received from others. (If you wear an embarrassing T-shirt, you will overestimate the fraction of people who have noticed it.)
  • The focusing effect (paying too much attention to one aspect of an effect)
    • Related: the halo effect: one positive attribute is believed to be correlated with other desirable qualities. ("He speaks so confidently, his advice is surely correct.")
    • Related: over-claiming - it is not just self-aggrandizing; people also over-claim negative actions, sometimes placing too much blaim on themselves.
    • Subset: Identifiable victim effect
  • Social proof (viewing positively what we see others approve of or do)
  • Seeing patterns in randomness
    • "Gambler's fallacy": the view/instinct that coins or dice have a "memory" so that things "even out". Assuming statistical independence is violated for random events.
    • Hot-hand fallacy ('good luck / a fortunate run will continue')
    • Superstition due to missing regression to the mea (e.g. the 'Sports Illustrated Jinx')
  • Naive realism
    • Related: False consensus effect
    • Related: Fundamental attribution error
    • "Name of the game" effects (Wall St. game vs. Community game)
    • Attributional ambiguity "afflicts people who aren’t sure whether to attribute their successes to genuine ability or to some other cause" (quote) which can harm people who were helped by policies like affirmative action.
  • Zero-sum assumptions (the view that our interests are always competing)
  • Self-serving bias (altering own perceptions and interpretations to enhance own self-esteem)
  • Learned helplessness
  • Curse of knowledge: Once you know something, it is hard to remember what it was like not to know it
  • Projections bias (assuming that others are thinking just like us; or expecting that our own tastes will not change)
  • Motivated reasoning ("Oftentimes when we think we're engaged in reasoned policy discussion we're actually engaged in complex efforts to rationalize the direction in which our tribal affiliations are pushing us… human beings are incredibly good at rationalizing their way to whatever conclusion their group wants them to reach" (Klein))
    • Related: Confirmation bias
    • Related: Reactive devaluation: ("a proposal is devalued if it appears to originate from an antagonist" (Wiki entry))
  • Hindsight bias
  • Pluralistic ignorance ("It's what happens when everyone fakes happiness, or enthusiasm, or understanding so well that that they fool, well, everyone else.")
  • Novelty effect
  • Less is more heuristic
  • Planning fallacy
  • Status quo bias (reluctance to
  • Persuasion
    • Central route: the listener pays attention to the message and evaluates the strength of the arguments
    • Peripheral route: the recipient is influenced by superficial cues
    • This dual-process model is due to Petty and Cacioppo (1986)
  • Hedonic adaptation or the "hedonic treadmill"
  • Response to labels / identity salience (“Please don’t be a cheater”). Language that appeals to identity works, unlike language focused on the action (e.g., “Please don’t cheat”)
  • Recency effects
    • Mere exposure effects: exposing somebody to a brand can increase liking -- when a need is to be fulfilled, the brand is more likely to be purchased
    • Incidental encounters (e.g. with brands) pull our preferences in a particular direction
  • Choice overload
    • Wear-out effect: too many ads will put people off
  • Backlash effects (punishment of those who do not conform to group sterotypes - the reprisal can come from one's own group, or from the outgroup).
  • Self-fulfilling expectations
    • Subset: the Pygmalion effect: higher expectation -> higher performance
  • The paradox of choice
  • The bystander effect