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Too Much Information

There is just too much information in the world, we have no choice but to filter almost all of it out. Our brain uses a few simple tricks to pick out the bits of information that are most likely going to be useful in some way.

We notice things already primed in memory or repeated often

This is the simple rule that our brains are more likely to notice things that are related to stuff that’s recently been loaded in memory.

Attentional BiasAvailability Heuristic
Base Rate FallacyContext Effect
Cue-Dependent ForgettingEmpathy Gap
Frequency IllusionIllusory Truth Effect
Mere Exposure EffectMood-Con
Omission Bias

Bizarre, funny, visually-striking, or anthropomorphic things stick out more than non-bizarre/unfunny things

Our brains tend to boost the importance of things that are unusual or surprising. Alternatively, we tend to skip over information that we think is ordinary or expected.

Bizarreness EffectSelf-Relevance Effect
Picture Superiority EffectNegativity Bias
Humour EffectVon Restorff Effect

We are drawn to details that confirm our own existing beliefs

This is a big one. As is the corollary: we tend to ignore details that contradicts our own beliefs.

Confirmation BiasCongruence Bias
Continued Influence EffectExperimenter’s Bias
Observer-Expectancy EffectOstrich Effect
Post-Purchase RationalizationSelective Perception
Semmelweis ReflexSubjective Validation

We notice flaws in others more easily than we notice flaws in ourselves

Yes, before you see this entire article as a list of quirks that compromise how other people think, realize that you are also subject to these biases.

Bias Blind SpotNaïve Realism
Naïve Cynicism

We notice when something has changed

And we’ll generally tend to weigh the significance of the new value by the direction the change happened (positive or negative) more than re-evaluating the new value as if it had been presented alone. Also applies to when we compare two similar things.

Contrast EffectDistinction Bias
Focusing EffectFraming Effect
Money Illusion