Brooks’ Law: Adding Manpower to a Late Project Makes It Later

  Brooks’ law is the observation that “adding manpower to a late software project makes it later”. Applied broadly, this principle denotes that when it comes to various types of projects, adding more resources—especially more people—is often unhelpful and even counterproductive. Brooks’ law has important implications when it comes to personal and organizational productivity, so …

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The Projection Bias: People Underestimate How Much They Will Change

  The projection bias is a cognitive bias that causes people to overestimate the degree to which their future attributes (e.g., tastes and beliefs) will resemble their current ones. Essentially, this bias leads people to engage in flawed self-forecasting, by projecting their current attributes onto their future self, and thus underestimating how much their attributes …

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Inert Knowledge: The Problem of Knowing Without Understanding

  Inert knowledge is information that a person knows but doesn’t fully understand, which means that they can only recognize, express, or use it in very limited ways. For example, a student has inert knowledge if they memorize a math formula and are able to repeat it, but they don’t understand what it means or …

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Kant’s Categorical Imperative: Act the Way You Want Others to Act

  The categorical imperative is a moral principle which denotes that you should “act only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law”, meaning that you should act a certain way only if you’re willing to have everyone else act the same way …

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Reflective Learning: Thinking About the Way You Learn

  Reflective learning involves actively monitoring and assessing your knowledge, abilities, and performance during the learning process, in order to improve the process and its associated outcomes. For example, if you’re studying for a test, you can engage in reflective learning by asking yourself how well you understand each of the topics that you’re studying, …

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The Bias Blind Spot: People Are Often Unaware of Their Own Biases

  The bias blind spot is a cognitive bias that causes people to be less aware of their own biases than of those of others, and to assume that they’re less susceptible to biases than others. For example, the bias blind spot can cause someone to assume that other people’s political stance is influenced by …

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Belief Bias: When People Rely on Beliefs Rather Than Logic

  The belief bias is a cognitive bias that causes people to over-rely on preexisting beliefs and knowledge when evaluating the conclusions of an argument, instead of properly considering the argument’s content and structure. Accordingly, the belief bias means that people often accept arguments that align with their preexisting beliefs, even if those arguments are …

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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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False Premise: When Arguments Are Built on Bad Foundations

  A false premise is an incorrect proposition or assumption that forms the basis of an argument and renders it logically unsound. For example, in the argument “all birds can fly, and penguins can’t fly, so penguins aren’t birds”, the premise that “all birds can fly” is false, since some birds can’t fly, and this …

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