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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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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The Rhyme-as-Reason Effect: Why Rhyming Makes Your Message More Persuasive

  The rhyme-as-reason effect is a cognitive bias that makes people more likely to remember, repeat, and believe statements that contain a rhyme, compared to those that do not. For example, people generally perceive the aphorism “woes unite foes” as more accurate than the aphorisms “woes unite enemies” or “misfortunes unite foes”, despite the fact that they …

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The Gambler’s Fallacy: On the Danger of Misunderstanding Simple Probabilities

  The gambler’s fallacy is the mistaken belief that past events can influence future events that are entirely independent of them in reality. For example, the gambler’s fallacy might cause someone to believe that if a coin just landed on heads twice in a row, then it’s “due” to land on tails on the next toss. Accordingly, …

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