Every Single Cognitive Bias In One Infographic

The human brain is capable of incredible things, but it’s also extremely flawed at times.

Science has shown that we tend to make all sorts of mental mistakes, called “cognitive biases”, that can affect both our thinking and actions. These biases, as Visual Capitalist's Jeff Desjardins points out, can lead to us extrapolating information from the wrong sources, seeking to confirm existing beliefs, or failing to remember events the way they actually happened!

To be sure, this is all part of being human – but such cognitive biases can also have a profound effect on our endeavors, investments, and life in general. For this reason, today’s infographic from DesignHacks.co is particularly handy. It shows and groups each of the 188 known confirmation biases in existence.

Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist



Humans tend to think in certain ways that can lead to systematic deviations from making rational judgments.

These tendencies usually arise from:

  • Information processing shortcuts
  • The limited processing ability of the brain
  • Emotional and moral motivations
  • Distortions in storing and retrieving memories
  • Social influence

Cognitive biases have been studied for decades by academics in the fields of cognitive science, social psychology, and behavioral economics, but they are especially relevant in today’s information-packed world. They influence the way we think and act, and such irrational mental shortcuts can lead to all kinds of problems in entrepreneurship, investing, or management.


Here are four examples of how these types of biases can affect people in the business world:

Familiarity Bias: An investor puts her money in “what she knows”, rather than seeking the obvious benefits from portfolio diversification. Just because a certain type of industry or security is familiar doesn’t make it the logical selection.

Self-Attribution Bias: An entrepreneur overly attributes his company’s success to himself, rather than other factors (team, luck, industry trends). When things go bad, he blames these external factors for derailing his progress.

Anchoring Bias: An employee in a salary negotiation is too dependent on the first number mentioned in the negotiations, rather than rationally examining a range of options.

Survivorship Bias: Entrepreneurship looks easy, because there are so many successful entrepreneurs out there. However, this is a cognitive bias: the successful entrepreneurs are the ones still around, while the millions who failed went and did other things.


Lore atomic balm Sat, 09/30/2017 - 04:39 Permalink

And then there's the old tax-and-cheat-me-to-save-the-planet Club of Rome variant: "The common enemy of humanity is man." A follow-up article might underline how these weaknesses in the normal human psyche are regularly and ingeniously exploited by psychopaths, individually or in large organized packs, essentially herding the public like so many malleable, manipulated sheep.  As free thinkers, each and every one of us has a moral obligation to educate ourselves in their nature and tactics. KNOW THY ENEMY.Political Ponerology: A Science on the Nature of Evil Adjusted for Political PurposesPropagandaThe Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve

In reply to by atomic balm

Conax Cheka_Mate Sat, 09/30/2017 - 11:53 Permalink

And chess. I always beat my grade school friend at chess.I could also whup his butt without breaking a sweat. He was smaller than me so it wouldn't be fair, though.  That boy never won a single fight but he would gamely step up. I admired him for that. Our neighborhood was white but a little tough. You had to scrap sometimes.I didn't even know his family was jewish til my dad told me.They were atypical jewish people, their dad worked at a cement plant 12 hours a day.  He was not lazy, that's for sure. A mean little SOB, he once threw a large pizza in his boy's face for asking to go catfishing with us one time too many. 

In reply to by Cheka_Mate

Killdo Conax Sun, 10/01/2017 - 11:08 Permalink

one of my high school friends in Serbia (not a jew) was a world champion in chess (I think he won it in 1979 - at the age of 14 I think). He definitely was not very bright in anything else - although we all expected him to be brilliant in everything. I have enver seen him play chess but in everything else he was average or below - and I think he studied hard. He was brown-nosing generally and socially he was  a kind of a kid who woudl always tell teachers about everything (and balckmail you if possible, or try to make you feel sorry for him - shit - maybe he was jewish?)

In reply to by Conax

Killdo Cheka_Mate Sun, 10/01/2017 - 11:11 Permalink

they have a problem with their mothers - you are right. Mostly they don't like them and or fear them or women in general - I thnk there is some strange child-abuse going on (or neglect). Most of the gay men I have met in LA (a hundred or so) are Jewish - and I always thought it has a lot to do with their mothers. I don't think they even like sex with men - they jus tfear and dislike women (especially their mothers). Very strange - the oposite of Serbian mothersJewish men are generally nicer but I think it's probably a part of some kidn of a good cop - bad cop predatory game they play on goyim

In reply to by Cheka_Mate

Killdo Kidbuck Sat, 09/30/2017 - 18:47 Permalink

I know many Jews, I've studied with a few at some of the world's top universies, I have befriended many of them, some are like my family, many are very wealthy and some famous. Both in the Uk and USSAYet none of them is particularly wise or clever, as much as I like them. They are mostly average or just a bit above average. I've met much more intelligent people in Argentina, Japan, Serbia, Australia...(non-jews and not even religious)It's just another myth perpetuated by Hollywood mafia like many other myths meant to instal insecurity in sheeple to make them easier to manipulate, as psychopaths like to do. Ideally psychos like to turn other people's goodness and instincts against them to be able to exploit them, because all they know in is money and hoarding. 

In reply to by Kidbuck

HRClinton ergatz Sat, 09/30/2017 - 03:08 Permalink

That will teach you to concoct a loser deity who wants you to be weak and shepherded, instead of concocting a deity like Yahweh, Allah or Odin. Warrior sky gods, who kick ass and tell you to do the same. Your confidence and self-esteem is ingrained by your parents and gods. You reap as you sow.  Baby/Hippie Jesus may love you like a little child or lamb, but Odin wants you to grow TF up. My God is strong and wants me to be strong and successful. My God wants me to turn no cheek; wants me to forgive after retribution, to never forget, to give selectively, to avoid the lazy and cowardly, to disdain the stupid and weak. My God wants me to evolve, and plan trans-generational, so that the efforts of my ancestors are not in vain. My God is Mother Nature, and she is as beautiful as she is fearful and ruthless. She inspires me to study her in every way, to question her, to test her. She never lies and is never silent. And when my time is up on this earth, I will be with her for all eternity (10E99 years). I fear not, for in comparison, all other gods are puny, insignificant, assholes and imbeciles. Good luck.

In reply to by ergatz

Oldwood knukles Fri, 09/29/2017 - 23:31 Permalink

Man, I'm trying to hold them ALL intact at the same time. It HURTS....make it stop.Conflicting principles like defending myself will keep me alive, but I'm an evil white person? That kind of conflict?Or, I work my ass off to have a good living and shouldn't feel guilty, BUT I'm an evil white person?Or, I believe in personal generosity and helping people out, BUT, I'm an evil white person?Anything like any of those examples?

In reply to by knukles

Billy the Poet Cognitive Dissonance Fri, 09/29/2017 - 22:31 Permalink

Considering the list of 101 Cognitive Biases listed above, the human brain is extremely flawed ALL THE TIME. That would depend upon the task at hand. Much (most?) human activity requires a relatively small amount of mental ability or effort. For example, I can drive familiar routes on automatic pilot because my cognitive and perceptive abilities easily rise to that specific challenge.

In reply to by Cognitive Dissonance

Oldwood Billy the Poet Fri, 09/29/2017 - 22:38 Permalink

Your biases only tell you as much, when in reality you are a danger to us all (day dreaming while driving around!!!) and should be relieved of all driving privileges!Next thing we know you will be suggesting you can use your cell phone while driving, and find driving without seat belts completely safe! PUBLIC HAZARD!Sorry. can't help myself :(

In reply to by Billy the Poet

Oldwood Billy the Poet Fri, 09/29/2017 - 23:37 Permalink

There I go assuming!!We're all so damned evil. Isn't that what they are telling us? Shouldn't we be ashamed?It's kind of weird. It's like if feel unaccountable for my deplorable nature, like I have some type of privilege that comes from some almost genetic superiority, whiteness maybe......let me look it up on the wheel of deplorable bias. I'm sure it's on there somewhere....should be in BOLD letters.

In reply to by Billy the Poet

CRM114 Billy the Poet Sat, 09/30/2017 - 17:53 Permalink

Well, no, they don't.Your driving around on "automatic pilot" is only possible because your brain is making huge assumptions, which basically boil down to assuming things will be like the last time you did that journey. If something unusual happens, you are f#cked.Human beings did not evolve to drive vehicles at 50mph, they evolved to run around at 10 mph.

In reply to by Billy the Poet

Billy the Poet CRM114 Sun, 10/01/2017 - 04:47 Permalink

If something unusual happens, you are f#cked. I encounter unusual things all the time -- a bunch of little kids on bikes coming around a corner, joggers, a fallen limb -- and I've never been "fucked." Running on auto-pilot is not like being drunk. I recognize   unusual activity specifically because I am familiar with the route at which point I can take additional caution until things return to normal.If your brain doesn't work like this then it doesn't work. Humans have evolved to the point where we have the ability to walk and chew gum at the same time.

In reply to by CRM114

CRM114 Billy the Poet Sun, 10/01/2017 - 06:10 Permalink

Listen to yourself. Those things are not unusual if they happen all the time, are they?The key question is; do you remember the drive? If you find yourself arriving home and not remembering the drive, then that's the dangerous thing I mean by "autopilot".I have had extensive training in this from psychologists, and a lot of experience. What the brain does is it draws from well-established neural connections because those use less energy. And that's why you go into "automatic pilot", because your brain is trying to save energy. That's why I picked the word unusual. What will catch you out is something which happens for the first time for you. Now, I don't know what that is because I don't know you, but that's the principle. Furthermore, the brain takes a lot longer than normal to even recognise that it needs to switch back into thinking mode, and then it switches back at the same time that adrenalin starts to pump, so it switches back into a fight-or-flight mindset. The consequence is usually an over-reaction to the actual problem. A good example of this are when drivers massively over-control as a reaction to an unusual occurance in front of them, such as SUV drivers swerving,  flipping their cars and rolling off the highway when a soft toy falls off the car in front.Please, stop driving on auto, it may well kill you or others.There are several techniques to help avoid this happening.The first is to  plan ahead to avoid driving when really fatigued. Be aware of when the human body is most naturally fatigued (4am and 4pm).The second is to , as much as possible, make the journey in a well-rested/fueled state, so your brain has less urge to switch off. Have a snack and a 15 minute sit-down before leaving, especially if it's been a long day and you've been or are stressed.The third is to make each journey individual. Set yourself a driving task or two which relates to outside the car, such as aiming to minimize braking (you will need, obviously, to carefully assess closing speeds and road conditions to do this).Another is to note things on standard routes - How many cars parked outside the baker's today? However, don't go off into speculating why, as this distracts.Another is to pretend you are doing a demonstration drive, say for one of your children, and trying to get it perfect.One thing that works well is to talk through your decision-making, as if to a colleague (e.g. "Junction 200 yds on left, entrance hidden by trees, slowing..no vehicles oncoming if I need to swerve...entrance clear, accelerating"). Police pursuit drivers are taught to do this. It works even if there's no one there with you. Single seat military pilots do it.

In reply to by Billy the Poet

Billy the Poet CRM114 Sun, 10/01/2017 - 06:52 Permalink

Listen to yourself. Those things are not unusual if they happen all the time, are they? Listen to yourself. You insist on misinterpretating my words in order to reinforce your own errors.Do you really believe that every time I drive a specific route those same little kids come around the same corner or that the same limb is lying in the same spot?Unexpected things happen often but not the same unexpected things and not in the same places. The possibility that one will encounter something unusual is not unusual but the individual incidents themselves are unusual. I note the unusual item, avoid it and continue on my merry way. Please, stop driving on auto, it may well kill you or others.I don't believe that you devote 100% of your thoughts to driving while you're behind the wheel. You think about work or family or what you want for dinner. You tune the radio. You scratch an itch. Please stop pretending that you don't.

In reply to by CRM114

CRM114 Billy the Poet Sun, 10/01/2017 - 09:52 Permalink

I am asking you to ask yourself the question. Do you remember the drive just after completing it?If you do, then none of the above applies and carry on as you are. If you don't remember, then you are on automatic and need to change your behaviour. That's the easiest test.As to what I do, well, I don't concentrate 100% of the time because that is impossible. The maximum measured attention span is around 50 minutes (in fighter pilots), most adults being around 30 minutes, most older children around 20 minutes. That's what the scientific tests say, and that matches my experience. However, that varies hugely with the difficulty of the driving task, fatigue, stress, the enjoyability of the task, etc. It's important to recognise when one is approaching one's personal limit on any particular drive, and take a mental break. In the driving context, one can let one's mind think about what's for dinner when one has checked that the road situation isn't going to throw up any surprises (i.e open road, no traffic, good weather, etc). If it isn't safe, stop. Seriously. Around 4-5 minutes is usually sufficient break from a mental point of view before one can resume driving with refreshed attention. I would suggest you find out what the army transport driving rules are for your area. They have mandated maximum driving stints and rest breaks. Those have been developed over many decades and millions of miles, and generally offer a very good balance between getting somewhere and not having an accident. It's normally just a couple of simple rules about short and long rest breaks.Personally, I am concentrating 100% between those breaks. The radio is off, the phone is off, etc. I have spent most of my driving time taking children on medium to long journeys, so I now instinctively drive as a professional driver does, even when it's just me going to the mall. However, 99.9% of people aren't like me, don't have my 50 minute attention span, my experience, aren't an autotelic person,  etc. The more you can concentrate, however, the better. 

In reply to by Billy the Poet

Billy the Poet CRM114 Sun, 10/01/2017 - 11:29 Permalink

I am asking you to ask yourself the question. Do you remember the drive just after completing it?I have spent most of my driving time taking children on medium to long journeys,Was the fourth red light you encountered on your most recent excursion red, yellow or green when you first saw it? Surely you remember. If that test is unfair then have your children set up a test for you along those lines next time.    I have spent most of my driving time taking children on medium to long journeys,I only drive about 1000 miles per year. I rarely travel on roads which I haven't driven hundreds or even thousands of times before. The longest trips I regularly take run about 25 minutes, more often it's ten minutes or less. No breaks are required.

In reply to by CRM114

CC Lemon Cognitive Dissonance Sat, 09/30/2017 - 00:11 Permalink

I believe the term "flawed" is inappropriate. It's like saying our hunger is "flawed." It is what it is, a biological response to exernal stimuli. To say something is "flawed" implies a knowledge of an unflawed state. Which douchebag thinks they know the unflawed state of the human brain. Evolution has a way of filtering out flawed organisms over time. According to Mother Nature, if your brain is capable of making money, getting a girl pregnant and feeding the baby until IT can repeat the process, your brain is working just fine.

In reply to by Cognitive Dissonance