Skip to content

Need To Act Fast

We’re constrained by time and information, and yet we can’t let that paralyze us. Without the ability to act fast in the face of uncertainty, we surely would have perished as a species long ago. With every piece of new information, we need to do our best to assess our ability to affect the situation, apply it to decisions, simulate the future to predict what might happen next, and otherwise act on our new insight.

To act, we must be confident we can make an impact and feel what we do is important

In reality, most of this confidence can be classified as overconfidence, but without it we might not act at all.

Peltzman EffectRisk Compensation
Effort JustificationTrait Ascription Bias
Actor-Observer BiasFundamental Attribution Error
Barnum EffectIllusion of Control
Optimism EffectSelf-Serving Bias
Dunning-Kruger EffectEgocentric Effect
Hard-Easy EffectLake Wobegone Effect
Third-Person EffectFalse Consensus Effect
Overconfidence EffectDefensive Attribution Hypothesis
Social Desirability Bias

To get things done, we tend to complete things we’ve time & energy in

The behavioral economist’s version of Newton’s first law of motion: an object in motion stays in motion. This helps us finish things, even if we come across more and more reasons to give up.

Backfire EffectSunk Cost Fallacy
Processing Difficulty EffectEndowment Effect
Disposition EffectPseudocertainty Effect
Unit BiasIKEA Effect
Loss AversionZero-risk Bias
Escalation of CommitmentIrrational Escalation
Generation EffectCertainty Effect
Sunk Cost FallacyUnit Bias

To stay focused, we favor the immediate, relatable thing in front of us

We value stuff more in the present than in the future, and relate more to stories of specific individuals than anonymous individuals or groups. I’m surprised there aren’t more biases found under this one, considering how much it impacts how we think about the world.

Identifiable Victim EffectHyperbolic Discounting
Appeal to Novelty

We favor simple-looking options and complete information over complex, ambiguous options

We’d rather do the quick, simple thing than the important complicated thing, even if the important complicated thing is ultimately a better use of time and energy.

Less-Is-Better EffectInformation Bias
Conjunction FallacyOccam’s Razor
Law of TrivialityBike-Shedding Effect
Rhyme As Reason EffectAmbiguity Bias
Belief Bias

To avoid mistakes, we aim to preserve autonomy and group status and avoid irreversible decisions

If we must choose, we tend to choose the option that is perceived as the least risky or that preserves the status quo. Better the devil you know than the devil you do not.

Status Quo BiasSocial Comparison Bias
ReactanceReverse Psychology
Decoy EffectSystem Justification