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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How to Make Decisions: A Guide for When You Can’t Choose

  Making decisions is a crucial part of life, but many people struggle to make decisions, in one way or another. Some people, for example, are naturally indecisive, and therefore struggle to make decisions in a timely manner, even when it comes to trivial things, such as choosing what to eat for dinner. Other people, on …

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Why It’s Hard to Make Decisions (Especially Good, Fast Ones)

  Making decisions is often hard, and making good decisions quickly is even harder. Accordingly, many people struggle when it comes to making big life-alternating decisions, such as which college to go to or what career path to pursue. Furthermore, some people also struggle with other types of decisions, from somewhat important decisions, such as …

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Hubris: The Dangers of Excessive Pride and Confidence

  Hubris is a personality trait that involves excessive pride, confidence, and self-importance. Accordingly, hubristic individuals tend to overestimate things such as their abilities, knowledge, importance, and likelihood of success. For example, a hubristic person might believe that they’re never wrong, that they’re guaranteed to succeed in all their ventures, or that they deserve to …

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Ennui: How to Overcome Chronic Boredom

  Ennui (pronounced on-wee) is a type of chronic boredom, which generally involves weariness, dissatisfaction, and apathy, as well as the tendency to feel that everything is uninteresting and unfulfilling. People can experience either a general sense of ennui in their life, or they can experience it in relation to a specific domain, such as …

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The Verbatim Effect: People Remember Gist Better Than Details

  The verbatim effect is a cognitive bias that causes people to remember the gist of information, which is its general meaning, better than they remember its exact form, which is the way the information was presented and the minor details that it involved. For example, when people read a long text, they’re more likely …

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Jumping to Conclusions: When People Decide Based on Insufficient Information

  Jumping to conclusions is a phenomenon where people reach a conclusion prematurely, on the basis of insufficient information. For example, a person jumping to conclusions might assume that someone they just met is angry at them, simply because that person wasn’t smiling at them while they talked, even though there are many alternative explanations …

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The Contrast Effect: When Comparison Enhances Differences

  The contrast effect is a cognitive bias that distorts our perception of something when we compare it to something else, by enhancing the differences between them. This comparison can be either explicit or implicit, simultaneous or at separate points in time, and can apply to various traits, ranging from physical qualities, such as color …

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Homo Economicus: On the False Assumption of Perfect Rationality

  The term homo economicus (‘economic man’) refers to people as they’re portrayed in certain economic theories, where they’re seen as ideal decision-making machines, with flawless rationality, unlimited cognitive capacity, perfect access to information, and a narrow-range of consistent, self-interested goals. Roughly speaking, this means that the homo economicus can be seen as someone who …

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