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14 Biases which cause us to project our current mindset into the past and future

We project our current mindset and assumptions onto the past and future.

Magnified also by the fact that we’re not very good at imagining how quickly or slowly things will happen or change over time.

Self-Consistency Bias

The commonly held idea that we are more consistent in our attitudes, opinions, and beliefs than we actually are.

Restraint Bias

The tendency for people to overestimate their ability to control impulsive behavior.

Projection Bias

The tendency to falsely project current preferences onto a future event. When people are trying to estimate their emotional state in the future they attempt to give an unbiased estimate. However, people’s assessments are contaminated by their current emotional state and thus it may be difficult for them to predict their emotional state in the future.

Related. Empathy Gap

Pro-Innovation Bias

The belief that an innovation should be adopted by whole society without the need of its alteration. The innovation’s “champion” has such strong bias in favor of the innovation, that he may not see its limitations or weaknesses and continues to promote it nonetheless.

Time-Saving Bias

People’s tendency to mis-estimate the time that could be saved (or lost) when increasing (or decreasing) speed. In general, people underestimate the time that could be saved when increasing from a relatively low speed (e.g., 25 mph or 40 km/h) and overestimate the time that could be saved when increasing from a relatively high speed (e.g., 55 mph or 90 km/h).

Planning Fallacy

A phenomenon in which predictions about how much time will be needed to complete a future task display an optimism bias and underestimate the time needed. Read More.

Related. Optimism Bias

Pessimism Bias

An effect in which people exaggerate the likelihood that negative things will happen to them. It contrasts with optimism bias. The difference is that we are in an improbable way worried about our society’s future.

Related. Optimism Bias

Impact Bias

The tendency for people to overestimate the length or the intensity of future feeling states.


The belief that a society or institution is tending towards decline. Particularly, it is the predisposition, due rosy retrospection, to view the past favourably and future negatively.

Related. Rosy Retrospection

Moral Luck

Moral luck describes circumstances whereby a moral agent is assigned moral blame or praise for an action or its consequences even if it is clear that said agent did not have full control over either the action or its consequences.

Example of Moral Luck

There are two people driving cars, Driver A and Driver B. They are alike in every way. Driver A is driving down a road and in a moment of inattention runs a red light as a child is crossing the street. Driver A slams the brakes, swerves, and does everything to try to avoid hitting the child. Alas, the car hits and kills the child. Driver B in the meantime also runs a red light, but since no one is crossing, gets a traffic ticket but nothing more.

If it is given that moral responsibility should only be relevant when the agent voluntarily performed or failed to perform some action, Drivers A and B should be blamed equally, or praised equally, as may be the case. However, due to the effect of Moral Luck, if a bystander were asked to morally evaluate Drivers A and B, there is very good reason to expect them to say that Driver A is due more moral blame than Driver B.

Outcome Bias

An error made in evaluating the quality of a decision when the outcome of that decision is already known, instead of on the information known at the time of the decision. While similar to Hindsight Bias, the two phenomena are markedly different. Hindsight Bias focuses on memory distortion to favor the actor, while outcome bias focuses exclusively on weighting the outcome more heavily than other pieces of information in deciding if a past decision was correct. Read More.

Hindsight Bias (Knew-It-All-Along Effect, Creeping Determinism)

The inclination, after an event has occurred, to see the event as having been predictable, despite there having been little or no objective basis for predicting it. Read More.

Telescoping Effect

The temporal displacement of an event whereby people perceive recent events as being more remote than they are and distant events as being more recent than they are. The former is known as backward telescoping or time expansion, and the latter as is known as forward telescoping. Three years is approximately the time frame in which events switch from being displaced backward in time to forward in time.

Rosy Retrospection

The psychological phenomenon of people sometimes judging the past disproportionately more positively than they judge the present.

Related. Declinism

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