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Biases Do Not Make You A Bad Person. 

However, Biases Can Make You A Bad Decision Maker. 

This week we have been sharing information with you on how unconscious biases can greatly impact your decision making and how cognitive biases can make our judgments irrational and less objective.   

Biases are not limited to ethnicity or gender. How prevalent are biases? They go a lot wider than you might think, as the list below from the website shows. Each of these 24 biases can impact anyone’s decision-making process:

Biases Impact Decision Making


  1. Self-serving bias — you believe your failures are due to external factors, yet you are responsible for your successes.
  2. Anchoring — the first thing you judge influences your judgment of all that follows.
  3. Optimism bias — you overestimate the likelihood of positive outcomes.
  4. Pessimism bias — you overestimate the likelihood of negative outcomes.
  5. Negativity bias — you allow negative things to disproportionately influence your thinking.
  6. Sunk cost — you irrationally cling to things that have already cost you something.
  7. Group Think — you let the social dynamics of a group situation override the best outcomes.
  8. In-group bias — you unfairly favor those who belong to your group (however you define your group).
  9. Placebo effect — if you believe you are taking medicine it can sometimes “work” even if it is fake.
  10. Backfire effect—when some aspect of your core beliefs is changed, it can cause you to believe even more strongly.
  11. Availability heuristic — your judgments are influenced by what springs to mind most easily.
  12. Framing effect — you allow yourself to be unduly influenced by context and delivery.
  13. Declinism — you remember the past as better than it was and expect the future to be worse than it will likely be.
  14. Curse of knowledge — once you understand something you presume it to be obvious to everyone.
  15. Fundamental attribution error — you judge others on their character, but yourself on the situation.
  16. Halo effect — how much you like someone, or how attractive they are, influences your other judgments of them.
  17. Confirmation bias — you favor things that confirm your existing beliefs.
  18. Dunning-Kruger Effect — the more you know, the less confident you are likely to be.
  19. Barnum Effect — you see personal specifics in vague statements by filling in the gaps.
  20. Belief bias — if a conclusion supports your existing beliefs, you will rationalize anything that supports it.
  21. Just-world hypothesis — your preference for justice makes you presume it exists.
  22. Bystander effect — you presume someone else is going to do something in an emergency situation.
  23. Reactance — you would rather do the opposite of what someone is trying to make you do.
  24. Spotlight effect — you overestimate how much people notice how you look and act.

Remember, biases are neither good nor bad. In fact, biases allow us to efficiently process information about people. In some ways, biases are merely mental shortcuts based partially on social norms and stereotypes.

However, while having biases does not make you (or anyone else) a bad person, it can make you a bad decision maker.


This article is partially excerpted from my recent book Better Decisions Better Thinking Better Outcomes: How to go from Mind Full to Mindful Leadership, available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats.

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