The Zero-Sum Bias: When People Think that Everything is a Competition

  The zero-sum bias is a cognitive bias that causes people to mistakenly view certain situations as being zero-sum, meaning that they incorrectly believe that one party’s gains are directly balanced by other parties’ losses. For example, the zero-sum bias can cause people to think that there is competition for a resource that they feel …

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The Confirmation Bias: Why People See What They Want to See

  The confirmation bias is a cognitive bias that causes people to search for, favor, interpret, and recall information in a way that confirms their preexisting beliefs. For example, if someone is presented with a lot of information on a certain topic, the confirmation bias can cause them to only remember the bits of information …

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Debiasing: How to Reduce Cognitive Biases in Yourself and in Others

  Debiasing is a process through which the influence of cognitive biases is reduced, generally with the goal of helping people think in a more rational and optimal manner. Debiasing is usually accomplished through the use of various debiasing techniques, that can work on any number and type of cognitive biases. For example, when it comes to …

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Cognitive Biases: What They Are and How They Affect People

  A cognitive bias is a systematic pattern of deviation from rationality, which occurs due to the way our cognitive system works. Accordingly, cognitive biases cause us to be irrational in the way we search for, evaluate, interpret, judge, use, and remember information, as well as in the way we make decisions. For example, one …

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The Pessimism Bias: When Things Seem Worse Than They Are

  The pessimism bias is a cognitive bias that causes people to overestimate the likelihood of negative things and underestimate the likelihood of positive things, especially when it comes to assuming that future events will have a bad outcome. For example, the pessimism bias could cause someone to believe that they’re going to fail an …

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Authority Bias: Lessons from the Milgram Obedience Experiment

  The authority bias is a cognitive bias that makes people predisposed to believe authority figures and obey their orders. Most notably, the authority bias is associated with people’s tendency to obey the orders of someone that they perceive as an authority figure, even when they believe that there’s something wrong with those orders, and …

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Crab Mentality: When People Pull Down Those Who Get Ahead

  Crab mentality is a phenomenon where people react negatively, in terms of their thoughts, statements, or actions, to those who get ahead of them, even though they don’t expect there to be direct benefits to doing so. For example, crab mentality can cause someone to discourage or sabotage their friend who is starting to …

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Reflective Practice: Thinking About the Way You Do Things

  Reflective practice involves actively analyzing your experiences and actions, in order to help yourself improve and develop. For example, an athlete can engage in reflective practice by thinking about mistakes that they made during a training session, and figuring out ways to avoid making those mistakes in the future. Reflective practice can be beneficial …

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FUD: Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt

  Fear, uncertainty, and doubt (abbreviated as FUD), are a collection of mental states that can influence people’s thinking in a variety of situations, and that are often used together to manipulate people’s behavior. For example, a salesperson might push a customer to buy unnecessary software for their computer, by promoting FUD in various ways, …

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