Infographic: 5 Cognitive Biases That Threaten Decision-Making

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The human brain is an amazing entity and the most complicated known machine on Earth. It easily outstrips any form of artificial intelligence.

When one starts thinking about the brain capabilities it seems they are enormous and at times puzzling – partly because research on human brain is in fact skin-deep and partly because we can think about the brain with the brain only.

Just a few examples of curious facts we’ve never really thought about:

  • every time you recall something or have a new thought, a new connection in your brain is formed;
  • every time we blink, our brain keeps things as if lit up in front of our eyes, otherwise there’d be darkness around (we blink around 20,000 times a day);
  • we produce about 70,000 thoughts every day.

While being great in so many ways, our brain can sometimes fail to provide us with a plausible picture of the world around us. One possible explanation is it happens because of cognitive biases.

Discovering Cognitive Biases

Cognitive bias is a tendency to confuse our subjective perceptions with reality. The danger of biases is they cloud lead us astray. Generally speaking, they make us draw incorrect, excessively subjective conclusions on matters important to us.

Take a look at 5 cognitive biases we included in our infographic:

1. the anchoring effect;

2. the bias blind spot;

3. the illusory truth effect;

4. the peak-end bias;

5. the frequency illusion or Baader-Meinhof phenomenon.

Each of these five distorts our perceptions in its own way. How exactly? Check the infographic below or download the free eBook with a detailed overview of these influences.

Forming biased opinions is typical of everyone. In fact, in some cases these cognitive errors might work as defense mechanisms and protect us from excess negative impacts. It’s tempting for our brain to avoid going through long and complicated evaluations and simplify information processing by taking mental shortcuts.

The fact we cannot get rid of frustrating influence of biases is slightly disappointing but hard to change. Cognitive biases are somewhat similar to optical illusions – we might know about them and still experience them.

The good side of it is these cognitive patterns are predictable. So if knowing about them, you can then at least understand there’s a difference between what you think is true and what is really true.

(Click on the Infographic below to view the full size version)

Cognitive Biases

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