August 20, 2021

The 5 Cognitive Famous Bias. Part 1


Cognitive biases are systemic errors in thinking that negatively impact decision-making quality and outcomes.

1. Dunning-Kruger Effect

The Dunning-Kruger Effect says that people with a low objective ability at a task are prone to overestimate their ability at that task.

Humans are notoriously incapable of objective evaluation of themselves, including of their competency levels.

2. Pygmalion Effect

The Pygmalion Effect is named after the Greek myth of Pygmalion - a sculptor who fell in love with his own statue. It says that high expectations lead to higher and improved performance (and low expectations lead to lower and deteriorated performance).

The phenomenon was first discovered by psychologist Robert Rosenthal, who applied it to teachers and children in finding that children who had high expectations vocalized to them were more likely to experience improved performance relative to their peers.

Those who have high expectations placed on them are more likely to internalize these expectations and improve their performance accordingly. Similarly, those who have low expectations placed on them are more likely to internalize these expectations and weaken their performance accordingly.

3. Bandwagon Effect

Humans evolved as a social species. Our communities and collective behavior allowed us to thrive.

But our nature has a downside…

It creates a strong tendency to speak, act, or believe things simply because a lot of other people do. The Bandwagon Effect says that we prefer actions that many others are taking, irrespective of the logic or soundness of those actions.

Our social nature subconsciously pushes us towards fitting in, leading to mindless actions and dangerous groupthink.

4. Naive Realism

Naive Realism is a cognitive bias that can be broadly grouped under the category of egocentric biases.

Specifically, Naive Realism has two main pillars:

  • We tend to believe that we see the world with perfect objectivity (cognitive biases be damned!).
  • We assume that people who disagree with us must be ignorant, uninformed, or biased.

5. Backfire Effect

The Backfire Effect is a hyper-pronounced version of Confirmation Bias. It is the tendency for humans to use evidence in direct conflict with their thesis to further strengthen their previously held beliefs. New information that disproves a thesis actually further cements the belief in that thesis.

A source