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Cognitive Biases

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I think, therefore I am…. ?

Maybe not.

You may think you know what you’re thinking, and why you’re thinking it. Chances are you’re wrong.

We all have our biases. It’s not that you’re not smart, or smart enough. Intelligence, education, conscientiousness – they’re not decisive. Life for all of us often comes down to guess-work, and simplifying what’s before us.

We base our reactions on models and habits of thought that we have learned. Very often we’re not aware that we have absorbed those into our own lives. Those models stay as cognitive biases – short-cuts, habits, or ‘heuristics’ – that we use when we face problems that don’t present obvious and immediate solution.

We’re for the most part unconscious of our dependence on those cognitive biases. However, just knowing that we have biases can help guide us to be more fair, more honest and more wise.

Cognitive Bias poster

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The Cognitive Bias poster is an effort to visually organize 220 + cognitive biases. It’s based on Buster Benson’s blog ‘Better Humans.’ It also builds on John Manoogian’s poster codex. John cites 180 biases.

As Buster suggests, one can organize our biases by looking at why we have them in the first place. He sees our biases as adaptive responses to four basic problems we face in life:

  • We often have information overload, and we’re unsure what to focus on
  • Often, what is before us lacks meaning, or coherence, that we can grasp
  • Sometimes we are under pressure to act fast, less an opportunity escapes us
  • Frequently it is not clear to use what we need to keep in mind, or what needs to be remembered for later

One can sort the biases into different types too.

1 Decision Making, Belief , Behavioural biases

Many of these biases affect belief formation, business and economic decisions, probability estimates, and human behaviour in general.

Example: Confirmation Bias. We lean toward searching for, or interpreting, information in a way that confirms our preconceptions.

2 Memory Errors 

A memory bias enhances or impairs recall of a memory. This includes whether the memory will be recalled, the time it takes for recall, or altering its content.

Example: Cross-race effect. People of one race have difficulty identifying members of a race other than their own.

Social Attribution

We constantly make attributions regarding the cause of our own and others’ behaviours. Perceptual errors lead to biased interpretations of our social world.

Example: In-group Bias We tend to give preferential treatment to those we perceive to be members of our own groups.



Poster samples


These posters come in a variety of sizes.

24X36 inches    20X30 inches   18X24 inches

.pdf approx 1.2 mb
Cognitive biases in alphabetic order, in 1 column

Type 1

.pdf size 1.2 mb
Cognitive biases arranged alphabetically in 5 columns

Type 2





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