Cheat Sheet: 10 Easy Questions to Ask Yourself So You Don’t Fall for Cognitive Bias

Here are some common cognitive biases and a question for each that can help someone identify if they are falling into the bias:

  1. Confirmation Bias: the tendency to search for, interpret, and remember information in a way that confirms one’s preexisting beliefs.
  • “Am I only looking for information that confirms what I already believe and ignoring information that contradicts it?”
  1. Availability Heuristic: the tendency to overestimate the importance or likelihood of information that is easily available.
  • “Am I relying too much on information that is easily accessible to me, and not considering other relevant information that may be harder to find?”
  1. Anchoring Bias: the tendency to rely too heavily on the first piece of information encountered when making decisions.
  • “Am I overly influenced by the first piece of information I received, and not considering other options or perspectives?”
  1. Hindsight Bias: the tendency to believe, after an event has occurred, that one would have predicted or expected the outcome.
  • “Am I thinking that I knew all along what would happen when in reality, I only know this after the fact?”
  1. Framing Effect: the influence of wording, context, or presentation of information on decision making.
  • “Am I making a decision based on how the information is presented to me, rather than the actual information itself?”
  1. Overconfidence Bias: the tendency to overestimate one’s abilities or the accuracy of one’s beliefs.
  • “Am I overestimating my abilities or the accuracy of my beliefs without considering other possibilities?”
  1. Self-Serving Bias: the tendency to attribute successes to personal abilities and failures to external factors.
  • “Am I attributing my successes solely to my abilities and blaming external factors for my failures?”
  1. Bandwagon Effect: the tendency to do or believe something because many other people do or believe the same thing.
  • “Am I making a decision solely based on the fact that many other people are doing or believing the same thing, without considering other options?”
  1. Negativity Bias: the tendency to give more weight to negative experiences or information than positive ones.
  • “Am I focusing too much on negative experiences or information and not giving enough attention to positive ones?”
  1. Sunk Cost Fallacy: the tendency to continue investing in a decision or course of action because of past investment, even if it’s no longer rational.
  • “Am I continuing with a decision or course of action solely because I have already invested so much into it, rather than considering if it’s still rational to do so?”

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