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Flashcards in The Psychology of Misjudgments Deck (37)
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Bias from Mere Association

People can influence us by associating a product, service, person, investment, or a situation with something you like.


Underestimating the Power of Rewards and Punishment

We do what is rewarding and avoid what we are punished for. Install systems and rules that encourage the behavior you want.


Underestimating Bias from Own Self-Interest and Incentives

Don’t automatically trust people who have something at stake from your decision. Understand people’s motivations: money, status, love of work, reputation, position, power, and envy.


Self-Serving Bias

We tend to overestimate our abilities and future prospects when we are knowledgable on a subject, feel in control, or after we have been successful.


Self-Deception and Denial

We deny and distort reality to feel more comfortable, especially when reality threatens our self-interest.


Bias from Consistency Tendency

We look for evidence that confirms our ideas, beliefs, and actions. Devising reasons why we might be wrong doesn’t come easily.


Bias from Deprival Syndrome

We put a higher value on the things we already own than we are willing to pay for the same things if we didn’t own them.


Status Quo Bias and Do-Nothing Syndrome

We are bothered more by the harm that comes from action than the harm that comes from inaction. Deciding to do nothing is also a decision, and the cost of doing nothing could be higher.


Impatience Bias

We give more weight to the present than to the future. We seek pleasure today at the cost of what may be better in the future.


Bias from Envy and Jealousy

We evaluate our situation by comparing what we have with what others have.


Distortion by Contrast Comparison

We judge stimuli by differences and changes and not by absolute magnitudes. How we value things depends on what we compare them with.


Bias from Anchoring

We are over-influenced by certain information acting as a reference “anchor” for future judgments.


Over-Influence by Most Recent Information

The more dramatic, salient, personal, entertaining, or emotional some information, event, or experience is, the more influenced we are. We loved to be entertained.


Omission and Abstract Blindness

When planning, we often place too much importance on the specific future event and not enough on other possible events and their consequences that can cause the event to be delayed or not happen.


Bias from Reciprocation Tendency

We tend to repay in kind what others have done for us — good or bad.


Bias from Over-Influence by Liking Tendency

We want to be liked and accepted. We believe, trust, and agree with people we know and like.


Bias from Over-Influence by Social Proof

In a group, we are easily seduced because of our need for social acceptance. We are wired to make a huge number of decisions in our life based purely on other people’s actions. We also feel anonymous in group settings, which reduces are feelings of responsibility, leading to overconfident, risky behavior.


Bias from Over-Influence by Authority

We are most easily influenced by credible authorities instead of evaluating the truth of a statement based on its underlying facts.



We underestimate the influence of chance. We want to find reasons for all kinds of events — random or not.



We underestimate the importance of giving people a reason. It is often easier to get people to change with a well-explained reason backed by solid evidence. Can also be used against us, be careful!


Believing First and Doubting Later

The more distracted or pressured we are, the more likely we believe in something we normally would find dubious.


Memory Limitations

Our memory is selective. We remember certain things and distort or forget others. We only remember fragments of our real past experiences.


Do-Something Syndrome

We sometimes act because we feel bored, impatient, threatened, pressured, or desire excitement and stimulation.


Mental Confusion from Say-Something Syndrome

We tend to speak out even if we have nothing to contribute.


Emotional Arousal

When we feel sad, we may want to change our circumstances so we will feel better. This can cause us to overpay for something or buy things we don’t need. When going through an emotional experience, you should hold off on important decisions.


Mental Confusion from Stress

The more stress we experience, the more we tend to make short-term decisions.


Mental Confusion from Physical or Psychological Pain

We become confused when we are in pain, under the influence of chemicals, or have a physical or mental illness. Drugs, stimulants, and depressants distort our senses.


Bias from Over-Influence of Many Psychological Tendencies Operating Together

Our behavior is influenced by social situational factors, conditions and circumstances, the structure or description of a problem or choice, and our desires, mood, and expectations.


Availability-Misweighing Tendency

We tend to overemphasize information that is the most available and vivid from our surroundings and our mind. In the academic world, this is known as the Availability Bias. Unfortunately, The easiness doesn’t mean that the information is the most useful one.


Twaddle Tendency

People tend to talk a lot about things they’re not an expert in. Be very careful of these people. Instead, try to surround yourself with people who show restraint in sharing their opinions until they’re more proven or thought through.