List of cognitive biases. Illustration by John Manoogian III (jm3). Cognitive biases can be organized into four categories: biases that arise from too much information, not enough meaning, the need to act quickly, and the limits of memory. Cognitive biases are tendencies to think in certain ways that can lead to systematic deviations from a standard of rationality or good judgment, and are often studied in psychology and behavioral economics. There are also controversies over some of these biases as to whether they count as useless or irrational, or whether they result in useful attitudes or behavior. For example, when getting to know others, people tend to ask leading questions which seem biased towards confirming their assumptions about the person. However, this kind of confirmation bias has also been argued to be an example of social skill: a way to establish a connection with the other person. Decision-making, belief, and behavioral biases Social biases Memory errors and biases Notes
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You can't post a video of an adorable kitten without a raging debate about pet issues spawning in the comment section. These days, everyone is a pundit. But with all those different perspectives on important issues flying around, you'd think we'd be getting smarter and more informed. Unfortunately, the very wiring of our brains ensures that all these lively debates only make us dumber and more narrow-minded. For instance ... #5. Think about the last time you ran into a coworker or family member spouting some easily disproven conspiracy theory -- somebody who still thinks Obama's birth certificate is a fake or that Dick Cheney arranged 9/11 to cover up his theft of $2.3 trillion from the government.
That has literally never happened in the history of human conversation. Getty"OK, so Dick Cheney doesn't have a third arm. The Science: Yes, kids, being a dick works. So During Your Next Argument, Remember ... You do this, too. Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior. You know there’s a new nonfiction genre by the titles alone — Blink, Nudge, Predictably Irrational… and now Sway.
This book is probably best compared with Dan Ariely’s Predictably Irrational, but to me the Brafman brothers’ book seemed easier to digest — partially because it’s shorter, but also because it doesn’t seem to discuss as many experiments in as excruciating detail as Ariely tended to do. The thesis is largely the same — we humans think we act rationally in most situations, especially in business or areas of our life that would seem to call for rational thinking (e.g., work).
What Ori and Rom Brafman (a businessman and a psychologist, respectively) show instead is what we all know from Ariely and others before him — humans are irrational and will act in irrational ways in many (most?) Situations. They call this being “swayed,” hence the book’s title. The book is peppered with such examples, such as people who have bid as much as $200 for a $20 bill.
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