Comprehensive list of cognitive biases

July 3, 2010 | By | 5 Replies More

The next time someone mentions that humans are “rational” you might want to refer them to Wikipedia’s list of dozens of cognitive biases. How handy to have all of these biases listed in one place. The list includes each of the following biases, each of them liked to specific Wikipedia articles.

Decision-making and behavioral biases

Bandwagon effect
Base rate fallacy
Bias blind spot
Choice-supportive bias
Confirmation bias
Congruence bias
Contrast effect
Denomination effect
Distinction bias
Endowment effect
Experimenter’s or Expectation bias
Extraordinarity bias
Focusing effect
Hyperbolic discounting
Illusion of control
Impact bias
Information bias
Interloper effect
Irrational escalation
Just-world phenomenon
Loss aversion
Mere exposure effect
Money illusion
Moral credential effect
Need for Closure
Negativity bias
Neglect of probability
Normalcy bias
Omission bias
Outcome bias
Planning fallacy
Pseudocertainty effect
Restraint bias
Selective perception
Semmelweis reflex
Status quo bias
Von Restorff effect
Wishful thinking
Zero-risk bias

Biases in probability and belief

Ambiguity effect
Anchoring effect
Attentional bias
Authority bias
Availability heuristic
Availability cascade
Belief bias
Clustering illusion
Capability bias
Conjunction fallacy
Disposition effect
Gambler’s fallacy
Hawthorne effect
Hindsight bias
Illusory correlation
Neglect of prior base rates effect
Observer-expectancy effect
Optimism bias
Ostrich effect
Overconfidence effect
Positive outcome bias
Pessimism bias
Primacy effect
Recency effect
Disregard of regression toward the mean
Subadditivity effect
Subjective validation
Survivorship bias
Well travelled road effect

Social biases

Actor–observer bias
Bystander effect
Dunning–Kruger effect
Egocentric bias
Forer effect (aka Barnum effect)
False consensus effect
Fundamental attribution error
Halo effect
Herd instinct
Illusion of asymmetric insight
Illusion of transparency
Illusory superiority
Ingroup bias
Just-world phenomenon
Outgroup homogeneity bias
Projection bias
Self-serving bias
Self-fulfilling prophecy
System justification
Trait ascription bias
Ultimate attribution error

Memory errors
Further information: Memory bias
Consistency bias
Egocentric bias
False memory
Hindsight bias
Reminiscence bump
Rosy retrospection
Self-serving bias
Telescoping effect


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Category: cognitive biases

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (5)

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  1. And still counting no doubt 😉

  2. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    The difficult task, is recognizing these biases in ourselves.

    Bias is not always a bad thing. At times when there is insufficent information to make a rational choice, it can help us from being indecisive.

    • Erich Vieth says:

      These cognitive heuristics and other rough and ready strategies, as imperfect as they are, got the human race this far. I don't mean to demean them by noting them. There are times, though, when we would be wise to note these often-useful strategies because they are sometimes impediments to truly rational decision-making. Some of them, for instance, are self-serving and they often do not encourage self-critical analysis of a problem.

  3. Daniel J. Aldridge says:

    This is GREAT, but you might want to add anomaly-hunting in there, as that certainly entails a cognitive pit-trap.

  4. Col James P. Cook says:

    Capability Bias is the one that really gets my attention. I know in the army we look at a lot of charts and metrics, and the tendency is to assume that the charted averages are the reality, but let me tell you, I can’t count the times when the distribution of the data was all over the place, but the metrics looked just fine.

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