Biases Pamphlet…
( pdf:… )

I wonder if it’s worth memorizing the name+summary of “the 42 decision-making biases”, “the 19 social biases”, etc. Broadly, biases benefit us by providing:

1) Believable signaling. We’re often our only advocate. In order to make people trust and like us, we have to promote ourselves. But deception is most effective when we don’t consciously believe we’re lying (few people are excellent face-to-face fakers). Biases that help us sell ourselves, or convince the in-group that we’re loyal to it, will help us.

2) Reasonable use of limited computational resources. We employ heuristics that focus our attention, or accelerate a decision, and we should expect those to serve reasonably well in the social+physical environment we evolved in, but to be less accurate than full consideration. That is, our cognitive architecture is mostly satisfactory (but not necessarily optimal) for making decisions given limited computational power and time. It amuses me that it’s so unusual to really think through a problem in a truly rational and systematic way.

One error I noticed: “moral credential effect” is broader than prejudice. It applies quite generally; if you think you’ve taken a morally good action today, you’re more likely to cheat elsewhere.

There are many overlaps (and several repetitions of some items under different categories): e.g. “choice-supportive bias” overlaps “self-serving bias” “dunning-kruger” and “hindsight bias”.