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Cognitive Biases

Biases vs Heuristics

 , updated on July 18, 2016
Cognitive biases are patterns of thought that produce illogical results. Heuristics are practical approaches to thought that produce best guesses that aren't guaranteed to be correct.

Human Heuristics

Humans commonly think in heuristics. Human thought can do impressive things such as considering grey areas and developing theories when information is missing. This type of thinking generally requires a heuristic approach. Heuristics are also designed to produce rapid thoughts that can be instantly used to respond to fast moving situations. For example, intuition is believed to be heuristic in nature.

Computing Heuristics

In the early days of computing it was common to use true/false logic in areas such as algorithms and artificial intelligence. It quickly became obvious that this was hopelessly slow and static for many problem spaces. Modern computing often uses heuristics, particular in advanced artificial intelligence and algorithms.

Heuristics & Biases

Heuristics are one source of biases. For example, the availability heuristic is a cognitive bias by which humans tend to rely on recent information far more than historical information. For example, if you witness two car accidents in a week you may start to believe that driving is dangerous, even if your historical experience suggests it's reasonably safe.
Heuristics are practical but they often might be described as biases because they can lead to illogical results. As such, it can be said that algorithms and artificial intelligence that employ heuristics may develop a machine equivalent to cognitive biases.
Biases vs Heuristics
Patterns of thought that produce illogical results.
Practical approaches to problem solving, calculation and interpretation that produce best guesses that aren't guaranteed to be correct.

Cognitive Biases

This is the complete list of articles we have written about cognitive biases.
Ambiguity Effect
Backfire Effect
Base Rate
Circular Reasoning
Cognitive Bias
Cognitive Dissonance
Complexity Bias
Crab Mentality
Creeping Normality
Curse Of Knowledge
Decoy Effect
Exposure Effect
False Analogy
False Hope
Fear Of Youth
Gambler's Fallacy
Golden Hammer
Halo Effect
Hindsight Bias
Negativity Bias
Optimism Bias
Peak-End Rule
Positive Bias
Sour Grapes
Survivorship Bias
Us vs Them
Victim Mentality
Wishful Thinking
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Cognitive Biases

A list of common cognitive biases explained.

Curse Of Knowledge

Why experts have trouble communicating.

Optimism Bias

An overview of optimism bias, including its surprising benefits.

Decoy Effect

A cognitive bias that is well known in marketing circles.

Information Cascade

A definition of information cascade with examples.

Functional Fixedness

A definition of functional fixedness with examples.

Boil The Frog

A definition of boil the frog, with examples.

Anecdotal Evidence

The definition of anecdotal evidence with examples.


The definition of scientism with examples.

Types Of Artificial Intelligence

A few common types of artificial intelligence.

Technological Singularity

Technological singularity explained.

Affective Computing

Artificial intelligence and emotion.

Artificial Life

An overview of artificial life.

Machine Logic

How artificial intelligence can be illogical.

Deep Learning

A definition of deep learning with examples.

Supervised Learning vs Unsupervised Learning

The difference between supervised and unsupervised learning with an example.

Natural Language Processing

The common types of natural language processing.

Autonomous Systems

Common types of autonomous systems.

Artificial Intelligence Examples

Common examples of artificial intelligence.
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