Thinking Traps and Cognitive Biases

By Deane Barker on August 8, 2009

Here are a couple pages I’ve really enjoyed in the field of cognitive science —

Top 10 Thinking Traps Exposed page explains things like the “Sunk Cost Trap”:

You pre-ordered a non-refundable ticket to a basketball game. On the night of the game, you’re tired and there’s a blizzard raging outside. You regret the fact that you bought the ticket because, frankly, you would prefer to stay at home, light up your fireplace and comfortably watch the game on TV. What would you do?

Wikipedia’s List of Cognitive Biases goes even further, with dozens and dozens of named biases – influences that make you think wrongly about something.  For instance:

Bandwagon effect — the tendency to do (or believe) things because many other people do (or believe) the same. […]

Reminiscence bump — the effect that people tend to recall more personal events from adolescence and early adulthood than from other lifetime periods. […]

Lake Wobegon effect — the phenomenon that a supermajority of people report themselves as above average in desirable qualities

I thoroughly enjoyed reading both of those.

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