What Are Cognitive Biases?
Cognitive biases are mental shortcuts that cause a perceptual or decisional errors, which often go completely unnoticed.
Your brain consists of around 100 billion neurons and has a processing speed of up to 120 meters / second. Amazing, huh? Despite such immense brain power, us human beings are not infallible — we fall subject to cognitive biases every day (you may not even notice you have fallen into the trap of a cognitive bias!). So what exactly are these biases? A cognitive bias is defined as a tendency to think in a certain way that deviates from logical or rational thinking — in simple terms, these cognitive biases can cause us to make some questionable decisions and draw erroneous conclusions.
Examples of Cognitive Biases In Action
When you entered your favourite clothing store last week — were you more attracted to the sweater that was reduced from £50 to £20 or the sweater that was consistently priced at £20? Most individuals would say the reduced jumper — why? Because of the cognitive bias referred to as ‘end anchoring’.
This cognitive bias states that the first piece of information we are presented with is weighted higher than any subsequent piece / pieces of information — hence, in this example, the individual is anchored to the starting price of £50, making the reduced jumper seem like a complete bargain!!!
There are numerous cognitive biases that influence human behaviour on a daily basis — Wikipedia boasts an impressive list of over 150 cognitive biases!