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What are Cognitive Biases?

A cognitive bias is a systematic error in thinking that occurs when people are processing and interpreting information in the world around them and affects the decisions and judgments that they make.

Are Cognitive Biases Good or Bad?

Though not inherently good or bad, psychologists believe that many of these biases serve an adaptive purpose: They allow us to reach decisions quickly. This can be vital if we are facing a dangerous or threatening situation.

For example, if you are walking down a dark alley and spot a dark shadow that seems to be following you, a cognitive bias might lead you to assume that it is a mugger and that you need to exit the alley as quickly as possible. The dark shadow may have simply been caused by a flag waving in the breeze, but relying on mental shortcuts can often get you out of the way of danger in situations where decisions need to be made quickly.

What is the difference between Logical Fallacy & Cognitive Bias?

People sometimes confuse cognitive biases with logical fallacies, but the two are not the same. A logical fallacy stems from an error in a logical argument, while a cognitive bias is rooted in thought processing errors often arising from problems with memory, attention, attribution, and other mental mistakes.


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