Our brains are very efficient at processing the incredible amount of information we encounter each day. However, sometimes we make mistakes or our brains take mental shortcuts that lead to errors. We call these errors cognitive biases. Cognitive biases are important to study so that we can determine when we make these mistakes and how to go about preventing them from occurring again in the future. Unfortunately, we make mistakes a lot and so there are many different types of cognitive biases.
One company called DesignHacks.co created an amazing infographic that places over 180 cognitive biases in an organized way based on four categories: having too much information, not enough meaning, needing to act fast, and memory limits. Each of these four broad categories are further divided into subcategories and further still into the specific cognitive biases. It is a really cool way to organize information in a visually appealing way and helps draw attention to the many ways in which our brains sometimes get us into trouble.
In honor of this cool infographic, I thought I would highlight just a couple of cognitive biases that we frequently experience:
Hindsight bias - the "I-knew-it-all-along" phenomenon, where we inaccurately believe we could have predicted an outcome before it occurred.
Confirmation bias - where we tend to seek out and pay attention to information that confirms our belief and avoid or actively reject information that runs counter to our beliefs.
Stereotyping - expecting all people from a specific group to have identical characteristics.
False memory - when we mistake imagination for a real memory, can be easily manipulated by others.
Tip of the tongue phenomenon - when we can remember part of an item (i.e., the beginning of someone's name) or related information, but frustratingly cannot remember the entire information.
I'm all for making learning visually pleasing and fun, and hope that other companies will make similarly nice looking infographics about psychology topics to stimulate learning!
The Clinically Relevant Insights Blog, part of ShawnWilsonPhD.com, shares news and research regarding psychology and wellness.