Fun with psychology – cognitive biases.

What are cognitive biases?

A cognitive bias is a systematic pattern of deviation in judgment. Individuals create their own “subjective reality” from their perception of the input. It can be a way the brain processes or collects a load of information. Those strategies are called heuristics.

An individual’s construction of reality, not the objective input, may dictate their behavior in the world. Cognitive biases, however sometimes useful, may sometimes lead to perceptual distortion, inaccurate judgment, illogical interpretation, or what is broadly called irrationality or just fun!


Now with that out of the way, I would like to share some fun biases I’ve discovered. Who said psychology needs to be dull? Let’s go!


Click for a larger version.


1. Hot-hand fallacy: The “hot-hand fallacy” (also known as the “hot hand phenomenon” or “hot hand”) is the belief that a person who has experienced success with a random event has a greater chance of further success in additional attempts. And that is how the Kardashians grew their empire I believe …. 


2. Hyperbolic discounting: Discounting is the tendency for people to have a stronger preference for more immediate payoffs relative to later payoffs. Hyperbolic discounting leads to choices that are inconsistent over time – people make choices today that their future selves would prefer not to have made, despite using the same reasoning.[60] Also known as current moment bias, present-bias, and related to Dynamic inconsistency. A good example of this: a study showed that when making food choices for the coming week, 74% of participants chose fruit, whereas when the food choice was for the current day, 70% chose chocolate. This one is very true for me. When I go grocery shopping, I make a list (otherwise I forget more than half of the stuff I need) but when making the list I chose more healthier options. When I come home I believe I can ‘treat’ myself because I went grocery shopping. 🙂 


3. IKEA effect: The tendency for people to place a disproportionately high value on objects that they partially assembled themselves, such as furniture from IKEA, regardless of the quality of the end product. Yes, I like things more when I’ve made it myself. Doing or making things yourself gives it aslo an emotional connection. I like to knit and to crochet and when a project isn’t that nice, I still can’t let it go because ‘I know it’s not the best, but I’ve made it.’ 


4. Interoceptive bias: The tendency for sensory input about the body itself to affect one’s judgement about external, unrelated circumstances. (As for example, in parole judges who are more lenient when fed and rested.) One of my ex-bosses was very susceptible to that one. I knew when I needed to ask him a favor it was always better to do that after than before lunch. 


5. Not invented here: Aversion to contact with or use of products, research, standards, or knowledge developed outside a group. Related to IKEA effect.


6. Ostrich effect: Ignoring an obvious (negative) situation.


7. Reactance: The urge to do the opposite of what someone wants you to do out of a need to resist a perceived attempt to constrain your freedom of choice. Haha, I can be that person. Just tell me I must do this or that and I’ll immediately start thinking about ways how not to it or to do it my way. 


8. Rhyme as reason effect: Rhyming statements are perceived as more truthful. A famous example being used in the O.J Simpson trial with the defense’s use of the phrase “If the gloves don’t fit, then you must acquit.” With this one I just wonder how many cognitive biases are used by lawyers to influence the jury. It just doesn’t sit well with me. 


9. Third-person effect: Belief that mass communicated media messages have a greater effect on others than on themselves. Well I wasn’t aware of this one until I wrote this post. I indeed was under the impression that I am not that influenced by mass media than ‘other people’. When I now think about it, why wouldn’t I be? 


10. Well travelled road effect: Underestimation of the duration taken to traverse oft-traveled routes and overestimation of the duration taken to traverse less familiar routes.


11. Women are wonderful effect: A tendency to associate more positive attributes with women than with men. I don’t know about this one but it clearly exists. What do you think, is this particular bias true? Men (and women) let me hear, did you came across think one in your life? If true, we clearly need to change this! 



Resources and other reads.

If you liked this post, I made another one about cognitive biases.

Article on Wiki about cognitive biases.

Article on Medium about cognitive biases. 

Picture 1 Jm3 / CC BY-SA

Picture 2 credits click here.

10 thoughts on “Fun with psychology – cognitive biases.

  1. I have experienced a kind-of “women are wonderful” view.
    IT is such a male-dominated profession that women who hung around it were generally either (a) good at it, or (b) tended to get bullied out of it. Consequently, the women left in the industry tended to be higher-calibre than the men. Women were in IT because they *were* good. Men were in it because they *said they were* good.
    It was not always the case – I sometimes met the other stereotype – a woman might feel that she needed to be strong, decisive, and had to make some kind of decision there and then. Where, in fact, the best option was to be indecisive, to defer making the decision until absolutely necessary.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do believe to a point in our biological ‘destination’. Men are not woman and vice versa.
      It is quite fascinating to see how some industries are evolving and letting more women in or more men.
      I guess woman in a more ‘manly’ position feel the need to ‘act’ and to be perceived as more strong (think politics) to ‘fit a certain bill’. It is all about perception.
      Back to the bias, I do believe that woman are more likely to be described in nice words as sweet, gentle and friendly. I would love to see men being attributed also more positive qualities. A thorn in my eye is the International Women Day, where is the day we celebrate men?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I tell you what, though, a very high proportion of the people I have met as a result of my charity work have been women. If fact I am struggling to think of any men.
        I have no objection to IWD but we need to be clear that the goal is equal rights regardless of gender. We cannot truly be equal, because of fundamental biology, but we should aim to be as equal as possible.
        I always thought that the abortion argument was not the traditional “right to choose”, but was one of equality. i.e. a man could just walk away from a sexual encounter, so we should make it as possible as we can, for a woman to do the same.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This was great! I am “reactance” 100% and I even know when I’m doing it and can’t stop myself. I’ve never fallen for the IKEA trap, I know crap is crap and I don’t want to waste my time putting crap together and then having to look at it every day lol!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The IKEA effect cracks me up, although I know I’m definitely susceptible to it! 😊 Not as much on the little things. I don’t feel particularly connected to a chair because I had to attach the legs and sometimes I get annoyed at having to assemble things that clearly would have fit completed into the box. However, the promise of customization makes me dream about building a house of my own someday.

    Is there an opposite to the Rhyme as Reason effect? I sometimes find myself more skeptical of people who speak in rhymes rather than trusting. It just comes off as phony to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know if there is an opposite to it, I guess it rhymes stick easier in our brains. Like nursery rhymes for example. Repetition always works, when we see or hear the same thing a lot of times, we start to like it (think about ‘ugly’ fashion) or to believe it.
      These are of course generalisations and good reasoning and a clear brain will leave you less susceptible to it.

      Liked by 1 person

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