Timeline of cognitive biases

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This is a timeline of cognitive biases, attempting to describe several events related to the development of new concepts, as well as some illustrative events describing research in the field.

Sample questions

The following are some interesting questions that can be answered by reading this timeline:

  • What are the different types of cognitive bias described by the timeline?
    • Sort the full timeline by "Bias type".
    • You will mostly see three categories: Social bias, memory bias, and belief, decision-making and behavioral bias.
  • What are some notable cases in history involving a cognitive bias?
    • Sort the full timeline by "Event type" and look for the group of rows with value "Notable case".
  • What are some events describing the development of a concept within the field of cognitive biases?
  • What are some ilustrative pieces of research related to the field?
    • Sort the full timeline by "Event type" and look for the group of rows with value "Research".
  • What are some books illustrating the literature on the field of cognitive biases?
    • Sort the full timeline by "Event type" and look for the group of rows with value "Literature".
    • You will read a number of notable authors, such as Daniel Kahneman, and Irving Fisher, among others.

Big picture

Time period Development summary More details
1972 backward Pre concept development era Multiple concepts later included within the category of cognitive biases are developed throughout time, starting from ancient Greek philosophers.
1972 onward Modern period The notion of cognitive bias is introduced by Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, who in the following years would further elaborate on several different types of cognitive biases and related concepts.
21st century Present time As of 2020, there are approximately 188 recognized cognitive biases.[1]

Visual and numerical data

Mentions on Google Scholar

The following table summarizes per-year mentions on Google Scholar as of May 17, 2021.

Year Overconfidence Bias Self Serving Bias Herd Mentality Loss Aversion Framing Cognitive Bias Narrative Fallacy Anchoring Bias Confirmation Bias Hindsight Bias Representativeness Heuristic
1980 89 3,060 102 1,830 134 390 221 2,150 420 136
1985 144 3,570 137 2,500 311 557 320 2,560 583 226
1990 234 6,410 268 3,810 779 958 584 4,780 1,010 414
1995 428 10,600 502 5,040 1,610 1,560 1,100 7,070 1,660 539
2000 824 18,500 745 8,590 3,010 2,550 1,960 12,400 2,970 832
2002 1,090 20,700 1,020 11,200 3,850 2,390 2,560 12,400 3,430 898
2004 1,700 24,200 1,160 14,000 5,120 3,300 3,370 16,200 4,200 1,130
2006 2,050 27,300 1,220 16,900 6,470 3,570 4,090 20,500 4,660 1,500
2008 2,650 32,300 1,520 20,700 8,220 4,690 5,040 25,600 5,500 1,580
2010 3,350 36,700 1,810 25,500 10,700 5,320 6,220 31,300 6,280 2,270
2012 4,500 40,100 2,140 29,200 13,900 6,180 7,910 38,500 7,310 2,820
2014 5,300 42,400 2,260 31,800 17,800 8,890 9,230 43,800 8,070 3,440
2016 6,020 42,600 2,390 31,600 19,900 9,160 10,600 45,100 8,790 3,700
2017 6,760 41,600 2,210 31,000 21,900 9,570 11,300 40,300 9,010 4,090
2018 7,500 39,700 2,360 31,200 23,200 10,300 12,500 42,200 9,650 4,300
2019 8,290 33,800 2,330 29,700 24,000 10,200 13,200 35,400 7,990 4,490
2020 9,110 30,100 2,670 28,000 25,500 10,200 15,200 32,500 9,300 4,590
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Google Trends

The chart below shows Google Trends data for cognitive biases (topic) from January 2004 to January 2021, when the screenshot was taken.[2]

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Google Ngram Viewer

The chart shows Google Ngram Viewer data for "cognitive bias", from 1972 (when the concept was created) to 2019.[3]

Cognitive bias ngram.png

Wikipedia Views

The chart below shows pageviews of the English Wikipedia article cognitive bias, from July 2015 to December 2020.[4]

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Full timeline

Year Bias type Event type Details Concept definition (when applicable)
c.180 CE Social bias Concept development Many philosophers and social theorists observe and consider the phenomenon of belief in a just world, going back to at least as early as the Pyrrhonist philosopher Sextus Empiricus, writing circa 180 CE, who argues against this belief.[5] "The just-world hypothesis is the belief that people get what they deserve since life is fair."[6]
1747 Research Scottish doctor James Lind conducts the first systematic clinical trial.[7] "Clinical trials are research studies performed in people that are aimed at evaluating a medical, surgical, or behavioral intervention."[8]
1753 Concept development Anthropomorphism is first attested, originally in reference to the heresy of applying a human form to the Christian God.[9][10] Anthropomorphism is "the interpretation of nonhuman things or events in terms of human characteristics".[11]
1776–1799 Concept development The declinism belief is traced back to Edward Gibbon's work The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,[12] where Edward Gibbon argues that Rome collapsed due to the gradual loss of civic virtue among its citizens.[13] Declinism is "the tendency to believe that the worst is to come".[14]
1796 Literature French scholar Pierre-Simon Laplace describes in A Philosophical Essay on Probabilities the ways in which men calculate their probability of having sons: "I have seen men, ardently desirous of having a son, who could learn only with anxiety of the births of boys in the month when they expected to become fathers. Imagining that the ratio of these births to those of girls ought to be the same at the end of each month, they judged that the boys already born would render more probable the births next of girls." The expectant fathers feared that if more sons were born in the surrounding community, then they themselves would be more likely to have a daughter. This essay by Laplace is regarded as one of the earliest descriptions of the fallacy.[15] "The Gambler's Fallacy is the misconception that something that has not happened for a long time has become 'overdue', such a coin coming up heads after a series of tails."[16]
1847 Concept development Hungarian physician Ignaz Semmelweis discovers that hand washing and disinfecting at hospitals dramatically reduces infection and death in paients. His hand-washing suggestions are at the beginning rejected by his contemporaries, often for non-medical reasons. This would give birth to the concept of Semmelweis effect, which is a metaphor for the reflex-like tendency to reject new evidence or new knowledge because it contradicts established norms, beliefs, or paradigms.[17] Semmelweis effect "refers to the tendency to automatically reject new information or knowledge because it contradicts current thinking or beliefs."[18]
1848 Social (conformity bias) Concept development The phrase "jump on the bandwagon" first appears in American politics when enterteiner Dan Rice uses his bandwagon and its music to gain attention for his political campaign appearances. As his campaign becomes more successful, other politicians would strive for a seat on the bandwagon, hoping to be associated with his success. This preludes the emergence of the term bandwagon effect, which is later coined in the early 20th century.[19] Bandwagon effect "is a psychological phenomenon whereby people do something primarily because other people are doing it, regardless of their own beliefs, which they may ignore or override."[20]
1850 Concept development The first reference to “stereotype” appears as a noun that means “image perpetuated without change.”[21] Stereotype refers to "a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing"[22]
1860 Concept development Both Weber's law and Fechner's law are published by Gustav Theodor Fechner in the work Elemente der Psychophysik (Elements of Psychophysics). This publication is the first work ever in this field, and where Fechner coins the term psychophysics to describe the interdisciplinary study of how humans perceive physical magnitudes.[23] Weber–Fechner law "states that the change in a stimulus that will be just noticeable is a constant ratio of the original stimulus."[24]
1866 Belief, decision-making and behavioral (apophenia) Concept development The German word pareidolie is used in German articles by Dr. Karl Ludwig Kahlbaum in his paper On Delusion of the Senses.[25] Pareidolia is "the tendency to perceive a specific, often meaningful image in a random or ambiguous visual pattern."[26]
1874 Memory bias Research The first documented instance of cryptomnesia occurs with the medium Stainton Moses.[27][28] Cryptomnesia is "an implicit memory phenomenon in which people mistakenly believe that a current thought or idea is a product of their own creation when, in fact, they have encountered it previously and then forgotten it".[29]
1876 Memory bias Research German experimental psychologist Gustav Fechner conducts the earliest known research on the mere-exposure effect.[30] Mere-exposure effect "means that people prefer things that they are most familiar with".[31] It is "the tendency to express undue liking for things merely because of familiarity with them."[32]
1882 Concept development The term specious present is first introduced by the philosopher E. R. Clay.[33][34] Specious present "is the time duration wherein a state of consciousness is experienced as being in the present".[35]
1885 Memory bias Concept development The phenomenon of spacing effect is first identified by Hermann Ebbinghaus, and his detailed study of it is published in his book Über das Gedächtnis. Untersuchungen zur experimentellen Psychologie (Memory: A Contribution to Experimental Psychology). "The spacing effect describes the robust finding that long-term learning is promoted when learning events are spaced out in time, rather than presented in immediate succession".[36]
1890 Memory bias Concept development The tip of the tongue phenomenon is first described as a psychological phenomenon in the text The Principles of Psychology by William James.[37] Tip of the tongue describes "a state in which one cannot quite recall a familiar word but can recall words of similar form and meaning".[38]
1893 Memory bias Concept development Childhood amnesia is first formally reported by psychologist Caroline Miles in her article A study of individual psychology by the American Journal of Psychology.[39] Childhood amnesia "refers to the fact that most people cannot remember events that occurred before the age of 3 or 4".[40]
1906 Social (conformity bias) Concept development The first known use of bandwagon effect occurs in this year.[41] "Bandwagon effect is when an idea or belief is being followed because everyone seems to be doing so."[42]
1906 Social bias Research American sociologist William Sumner posits that humans are a species that join together in groups by their very nature. However, he also maintains that humans have an innate tendency to favor their own group over others, proclaiming how "each group nourishes its own pride and vanity, boasts itself superior, exists in its own divinities, and looks with contempt on outsiders".[43] In-group favoritism is "the tendency to favor members of one's own group over those in other groups".[44]
1909 Memory bias Concept development The first documented empirical studies on the testing effect are published by Edwina E. Abbott.[45][46] "Testing effect is the finding that long-term memory is often increased when some of the learning period is devoted to retrieving the to-be-remembered information."[47]
1913 Concept development The term "Monte Carlo fallacy" (also known as Gambler's fallacy) originates from the best known example of the phenomenon, which occurs in the Monte Carlo Casino.[48] Gambler's fallacy "occurs when an individual erroneously believes that a certain random event is less likely or more likely, given a previous event or a series of events."[49]
1914 Memory bias Concept development The first research on the cross-race effect is published.[50] Cross-race effect is "the tendency for eyewitnesses to be better at recognizing members of their own race/ethnicity than members of other races."[51]
1920 Social bias Concept development The halo effect is named by psychologist Edward Thorndike[52] in reference to a person being perceived as having a halo. He gives the phenomenon its name in his article A Constant Error in Psychological Ratings.[53] In "Constant Error", Thorndike sets out to replicate the study in hopes of pinning down the bias that he thought was present in these ratings. Subsequent researchers would study it in relation to attractiveness and its bearing on the judicial and educational systems.[54] Thorndike originally coins the term referring only to people; however, its use would be greatly expanded especially in the area of brand marketing.[53] Halo effect refers to an "error in reasoning in which an impression formed from a single trait or characteristic is allowed to influence multiple judgments or ratings of unrelated factors."[55]
1922 Concept development The term “stereotype” is first used in the modern psychological sense by American journalist Walter Lippmann in his work Public Opinion.[21] "Stereotype is most frequently now employed to refer to an often unfair and untrue belief that many people have about all people or things with a particular characteristic."[56]
1927 Memory bias Research Lithuanian-Soviet psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik at the University of Berlin first describes the phenomenon that would be later known as Zeigarnik effect.[57][58][59] Zeigarnik effect is the "tendency to remember interrupted or incomplete tasks or events more easily than tasks that have been completed."[60]
1928 Belief, decision-making and behavioral Literature American economist Irving Fisher publishes The Money Illusion, which develops the concept of the same name.[61] "Money illusion posits that people have a tendency to view their wealth and income in nominal dollar terms, rather than recognize its real value, adjusted for inflation."[62]
1930 Concept development English epistemologist C. D. Broad further elaborates on the concept of the specious present and states that it may be considered as the temporal equivalent of a sensory datum.[34] "The specious present is a term applied to that short duration of time the human mind appears to be able to experience, a period which exists between past and future and which is longer than the singular moment of the actual present."[63]
1932 Memory bias Research Some of the earliest evidence for the Fading Affect Bias dates back to a study by Cason, who conducts a study using a retrospective procedure where participants recall and rate past events and emotion when prompted finds that recalled emotional intensity for positive events is generally stronger than that of negative events.[64] The Fading Affect Bias "indicates that the emotional response prompted by positive memories often tends to be stronger than the emotional response prompted by negative memories."[65]
1933 Memory bias Concept development The Von Restorff effect theory is coined by German psychiatrist and pediatrician Hedwig von Restorff, who, in her study, finds that when participants are presented with a list of categorically similar items with one distinctive, isolated item on the list, memory for the item is improved.[66] "It predicts that when multiple similar objects are present, the one that differs from the rest is most likely to be remembered."[67]
1942 Concept development The Einstellung effect is first described by Dr. Abraham Luchins.[68] "The Einstellung Effect is a type of mindset that causes humans to repeat the use of "tried and true" strategies for problem solving, even when a simpler solution strategy exists."[69]
1945 Belief, decision-making and behavioral (anchoring bias) Concept development Karl Duncker defines functional fixedness as being a "mental block against using an object in a new way that is required to solve a problem".[70] Functional fixedness "is the inability to realize that something known to have a particular use may also be used to perform other functions."[71]
1946 Belief, decision-making and behavioral (logical fallacy) Concept development American statistician Joseph Berkson illustrates what would be later known as Berkson's paradox, one of the most famous paradoxes in probability and statistics.[72] Berkson's bias or fallacy, is a type of selection bias. Berkson's paradox "is a type of selection bias – a mathematical result found in the fields of conditional probability and statistics in which two variables can be negatively correlated even though they have the appearance of being positively correlated within the population."[73]
1947 Belief, decision-making and behavioral (extension neglect) Concept development Joseph Stalin is credited by some for having introduced the concept of compassion fade with his statement “the death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic”.[74] However, this introduction is considered to be misattributed by others.[75] Compassion fade "refers to the decrease in the compassion one shows for the people in trouble as the number of the victims increase."[76]
1952 Social (conformity bias) Concept development William H. Whyte Jr. derives the term groupthink from George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four and popularizes it in Fortune magazine:
Groupthink being a coinage – and, admittedly, a loaded one – a working definition is in order. We are not talking about mere instinctive conformity – it is, after all, a perennial failing of mankind. What we are talking about is a rationalized conformity – an open, articulate philosophy which holds that group values are not only expedient but right and good as well.[77][78]
"Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon in which people strive for consensus within a group."[79]
1954 Social bias Concept development The social comparison theory is initially proposed by social psychologist Leon Festinger. It centers on the belief that there is a drive within individuals to gain accurate self-evaluations.[80] The social comparison theory refers to "the idea that individuals determine their own social and personal worth based on how they stack up against others".[81]
1956 Concept development The term "Barnum effect" is coined by psychologist Paul Meehl in his essay Wanted – A Good Cookbook, because he relates the vague personality descriptions used in certain "pseudo-successful" psychological tests to those given by showman P. T. Barnum.[82][83] Barnum effect is "the phenomenon that occurs when individuals believe that personality descriptions apply specifically to them (more so than to other people), despite the fact that the description is actually filled with information that applies to everyone."[84]
1957 Concept development British naval historian C. Northcote Parkinson describes what is later called Parkinson's law of triviality, which argues that members of an organization give disproportionate weight to trivial issues.[85] Parkinson's law of triviality (also known as the bike-shed effect) "explains that people will give more energy and focus to trivial or unimportant items than to more important and complex ones."[86]
1960 Belief, decision-making and behavioral Concept development English psychologist Peter Cathcart Wason first describes the confirmation bias.[87][88][89] "Confirmation bias is the tendency of people to favor information that confirms their existing beliefs or hypotheses."[90]
1960 Belief, decision-making and behavioral (confirmation bias) Concept development Peter Cathcart Wason discovers the classic example of subjects' congruence bias.[91] Congruence bias is "the tendency to test hypotheses exclusively through direct testing, instead of considering possible alternatives."[92]
1961 Social bias Research The Milgram experiment is conducted. This classic experiment establishes the existence of authority bias.[93] "Authority bias is the human tendency to attribute greater authority and knowledge to persons of authority (fame, power, position, etc.) than they may actually possess."[94]
1961 Ambiguity effect Concept development The ambiguity effect is first described by American economist Daniel Ellsberg.[95] "Ambiguity Effect occurs when people prefer options with known probabilities over those with unknown probabilities."[96]
1964 Memory bias Concept development The original work on the telescoping effect is usually attributed to an article by Neter and Waksberg in the Journal of the American Statistical Association.[97] The term telescoping comes from the idea that time seems to shrink toward the present in the way that the distance to objects seems to shrink when they are viewed through a telescope.[97] "The telescoping effect refers to inaccurate perceptions regarding time, where people see recent events as more remote than they are (backward telescoping), and remote events as more recent (forward telescoping).[98]
1964 Belief, decision-making and behavioral (anchoring bias) Concept development The first recorded statement of the concept of Law of the instrument is Abraham Kaplan's: "I call it the law of the instrument, and it may be formulated as follows: Give a small boy a hammer, and he will find that everything he encounters needs pounding."[99] "The law of the instrument principle states that when we acquire a specific tool/skill, we tend to be to see opportunities to use that tool/skill everywhere."[100]
1966 Social (egocentric bias) Research Walster hypothesizes that it can be frightening to believe that a misfortune could happen to anyone at random, and attributing responsibility to the person(s) involved helps to manage this emotional reaction.[101] "The defensive attribution hypothesis is a social psychology term that describes an attributional approach taken by some people - a set of beliefs that an individual uses to protect or "shield" themselves against fears of being the victim or cause of a major mishap."[102]
1967 Belief, decision-making and behavioral Notable case Risk compensation. Sweden experiences a drop in crashes and fatalities, following the change from driving on the left to driving on the right. This is linked to the increased apparent risk. The number of motor insurance claims goes down by 40%, returning to normal over the next six weeks.[103][104] Fatality levels would take two years to return to normal.[105] "Risk compensation postulates that humans have a built-in level of acceptable risk-taking and that our behaviour adjusts to this level in a homeostatic manner".[106]
1967 Belief, decision-making and behavioral (apophenia) Concept development Illusory correlation is originally coined by Chapman and Chapman to describe people's tendencies to overestimate relationships between two groups when distinctive and unusual information is presented.[107]"[108] An illusory correlation occurs when a person perceives a relationship between two variables that are not in fact correlated.[109]
1967 Social (attribution bias) Research American social psychologist Edward E. Jones and Victor Harris conduct a classic experiment[110] that would later give rise to the phrase Fundamental attribution error, coined by Lee Ross.[111] Fundamental attribution error "is the tendency for people to over-emphasize dispositional, or personality-based explanations for behaviors observed in others while under-emphasizing situational explanations".[112]
1968 Belief, decision-making and behavioral (anchoring bias) Concept development American psychologist Ward Edwards discusses the concept of conservatism (belief revision) bias.[113] "Conservatism bias is a mental process in which people maintain their past views or predictions at the cost of recognizing new information."[114]
1968 Social Concept development German-born American psychologist Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobsen first describe what would be called Pygmalion Effect (also called the Galatea effect).[115] Pygmalion Effect "refers to the phenomenon of people improving their performance when others have high expectations of them."[116]
1969 Social (cognitive dissonance) Concept development Researchers confirm the Ben Franklin effect.[117] The Ben Franklin effect refers to "an altruistic reaction that makes a person more likely to do a favor for someone that they have already completed a favor for; more likely than they are to return a favor to someone who has completed a favor for them."[118]
1969 Memory bias Research Crowder and Morton argue that the suffix effect is a reflection of the contribution of the auditory sensory memory or echoic memory to recall in the nonsuffix control condition.[119] "The suffix effect is the selective impairment in recall of the final items of a spoken list when the list is followed by a nominally irrelevant speech item, or suffix."[120]
1971 Social bias Concept development The concept of actor–observer asymmetry (also actor–observer bias) is introduced by Jones and Nisbett. It explains the errors that one makes when forming attributions about the behavior of others.[121] The actor–observer asymmetry "states that people tend to explain their own behavior with situation causes and other people's behavior with person causes".[122]
1972 Concept development The concept of cognitive bias is introduced in this year through the work of researchers Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman.[123] Cognitive bias refers to "people's systematic but purportedly flawed patterns of responses to judgment and decision problems."[124]
1973 Memory bias Concept development American academic Baruch Fischhoff attends a seminar where Paul E. Meehl states an observation that clinicians often overestimate their ability to have foreseen the outcome of a particular case, as they claim to have known it all along.[125] "Hindsight bias, the tendency, upon learning an outcome of an event—such as an experiment, a sporting event, a military decision, or a political election—to overestimate one's ability to have foreseen the outcome."[126]
1973 Belief, decision-making and behavioral (egocentric bias) Concept development The illusion of validity bias is first described by Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman in their paper.[127] The illusion of validity occurs when an individual overestimates their ability to predict an outcome when analyzing a set of data - especially when the data appears to have a consistent pattern or appears to 'tell a story".[128]
1973 Memory bias Concept development The next-in-line effect is first studied experimentally by Malcolm Brenner. In his experiment the participants were each in turn reading a word aloud from an index card, and after 25 words were asked to recall as many of all the read words as possible. The results of the experiment show that words read aloud within approximately nine seconds before the subject's own turn are recalled worse than other words.[129] "Next-in-line effect. people not remembering what other people said because they were too busy rehearsing their own part."[130]
1974 Memory bias Research Elizabeth Loftus and John Palmer conduct a study to investigate the effects of language on the development of false memory.[131] "False memory refers to cases in which people remember events differently from the way they happened or, in the most dramatic case, remember events that never happened at all."[132]
1974 Belief, decision-making and behavioral Concept development Anchoring is first described by Tversky and Kahneman.[133] "Anchoring bias occurs when people rely too much on pre-existing information or the first information they find when making decisions."[134]
1975 Social (attribution bias) Research Miller and Ross conduct a study that is one of the earliest to assess not only self-serving bias but also the attributions for successes and failures within this theory.[135] Self-serving bias is the common habit of a person taking credit for positive events or outcomes, but blaming outside factors for negative events."[136]
1976 Belief, decision-making and behavioral (logical fallacy) Concept development Escalation of commitment is first described by Barry M. Staw in his paper Knee deep in the big muddy: A study of escalating commitment to a chosen course of action.[137] Escalation of commitment "refers to the irrational behavior of investing additional resources in a failing project."[138]
1976 Social (attribution bias) Research Prior to Pettigrew's formalization of the ultimate attribution error, Birt Duncan finds that White participants view Black individuals as more violent than White individuals in an "ambiguous shove" situation, where a Black or White person accidentally shoves a White person.[139] "The tendency for persons from one group (the ingroup) to determine that any bad acts by members of an outgroup—for example, a racial or ethnic minority group—are caused by internal attributes or traits rather than by outside circumstances or situations, while viewing their positive behaviors as merely exceptions to the rule or the result of luck."[140]
1977 Memory bias Research Misattribution of memory. Early research done by Brown and Kulik finds that flashbulb memories are similar to photographs because they can be described in accurate, vivid detail. In this study, participants describe their circumstances about the moment they learned of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy as well as other similar traumatic events. Participants are able to describe what they were doing, things around them, and other details.[141] Misattribution of memory occurs "when a memory is distorted because of the source, context, or our imagination."[142]
1977 Social (egocentric bias) Concept development A study conducted by Lee Ross and colleagues provides early evidence for a cognitive bias called the false consensus effect, which is the tendency for people to overestimate the extent to which others share the same views.[143] The false-consensus effect "refers to the tendency to overestimate consensus for one′s attitudes and behaviors."[144][145] It is "the tendency to assume that one’s own opinions, beliefs, attributes, or behaviors are more widely shared than is actually the case."[146]
1977 Belief, decision-making and behavioral (truthiness) Concept development The illusory truth effect is first identified in a study at Villanova University and Temple University.[147][148] The illusory truth effect "occurs when repeating a statement increases the belief that it’s true even when the statement is actually false."[149]
1977 Memory bias Research T. B. Rogers and colleagues publish the first research on the self-reference effect.[150][151] "The self-reference effect refers to people’s tendency to better remember information when that information has been linked to the self than when it has not been linked to the self."[152]
1978 Memory bias Research Loftus, Miller, and Burns conduct the original misinformation effect study.[153] The misinformation effect "happens when a person's memory becomes less accurate due to information that happens after the event."[154]
1979 Social (attribution bias) Research Thomas Nagel identifies four kinds of moral luck in his essay.[155] "Moral luck occurs when the features of action which generate a particular moral assessment lie significantly beyond the control of the agent who is so assessed."[156]
1979 Social bias Concept development The ultimate attribution error is first established by Thomas F. Pettigrew in his publication The Ultimate Attribution Error: Extending Allport's Cognitive Analysis of Prejudice.[157] "Ultimate attribution error refers to the tendency of individuals to make less internal attributions of negative behaviors committed by ingroup members compared to outgroup members."[158]
1979 Social bias Concept development David Kahneman and Amos Tversky originally coin the term loss aversion in a landmark paper on subjective probability.[159] "Loss aversion is a cognitive bias that suggests that for individuals the pain of losing is psychologically twice as powerful as the pleasure of gaining."[160]
1979 Belief, decision-making and behavioral Concept development The planning fallacy is first proposed by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky.[161][162] "The planning fallacy refers to a prediction phenomenon, all too familiar to many, wherein people underestimate the time it will take to complete a future task, despite knowledge that previous tasks have generally taken longer than planned"[163]
1980 Memory bias Concept development The term "egocentric bias" is first coined by Anthony Greenwald, a psychologist at Ohio State University.[164] "The egocentric bias is a cognitive bias that causes people to rely too heavily on their own point of view when they examine events in their life or when they try to see things from other people’s perspective."[165]
1980 Social bias Concept development Ruth Hamill, Richard E. Nisbett, and Timothy DeCamp Wilson become the first to study the first type of group attribution error in detail in their paper Insensitivity to Sample Bias: Generalizing From Atypical Cases.[166] Group attribution error is "the tendency for perceivers to assume that a specific group member’s personal characteristics and preferences, including beliefs, attitudes, and decisions, are similar to those of the group to which he or she belongs."[167]
1980 Belief, decision-making and behavioral (truthiness) Concept development The term subjective validation first appears in the book The Psychology of the Psychic by David F. Marks and Richard Kammann.[168] Subjective validation "causes an individual to consider a statement or another piece of information correct if it has any significance or personal meaning (validating their previous opinion) to them."[169]
1980 Belief, decision-making and behavioral Concept development The phenomenon of optimism bias is initially described by Weinstein, who finds that the majority of college students believe that their chances of developing a drinking problem or getting divorced are lower than their peers'.[170] "Optimism Bias refers to the tendency for individuals to underestimate their probability of experiencing adverse effects despite the obvious."[171]
1981 Social bias Research Tversky and Kahneman conduct a demonstration of the framing effect.[172] "The Framing effect is the principle that our choices are influenced by the way they are framed through different wordings, settings, and situations."[173]
1981 Belief, decision-making and behavioral (prospect theory) Concept development The pseudocertainty effect is illustrated by Daniel Kahneman.[174] "Pseudocertainty effect refers to people's tendency to make risk-averse choices if the expected outcome is positive, but make risk-seeking choices to avoid negative outcomes."[175]
1982 Social (egocentric bias) Research Trait ascription bias. In a study involving fifty-six undergraduate psychology students from the University of Bielefeld, Kammer et al. demonstrate that subjects rate their own variability on each of 20 trait terms to be considerably higher than their peers'.[176] "Trait ascription bias is the belief that other people's behavior and reactions are generally predictable while you yourself are more unpredictable."[177]
1982 Belief, decision-making and behavioral (framing effect) Research The decoy effect is first demonstrated by Joel Huber and others at Duke University. The effect explains how when a customer is hesitating between two options, presenting them with a third “asymmetrically dominated” option that acts as a decoy will strongly influence which decision they make.[178] "The decoy effect is defined as the phenomenon whereby consumers change their preference between two options when presented with a third option."[179]
1983 Social (egocentric bias) Concept development Sociologist W. Phillips Davison first articulates the third-person effect hypothesis.[180][181] Third-person effect refers to "the commonly held belief that other people are more affected, due to personal prejudices, by mass media than you yourself are. This view, largely due to a personal conceit, is caused by the self-concept of being more astute and aware than others, or of being less vulnerable to persuasion than others."[182]
1983 Social (conformity bias) Research Jones reports the presence of courtesy bias in Asian cultures.[183] "Courtesy bias is the tendency that some individuals have of not fully stating their unhappiness with a service or product because of a desire not to offend the person or organization that they are responding to."[184]
1985 Belief, decision-making and behavioral (prospect theory) Concept development The disposition effect anomaly is identified and named by Hersh Shefrin and Meir Statman, who note that "people dislike incurring losses much more than they enjoy making gains, and people are willing to gamble in the domain of losses." Consequently, "investors will hold onto stocks that have lost value...and will be eager to sell stocks that have risen in value." The researchers coin the term "disposition effect" to describe this tendency of holding on to losing stocks too long and to sell off well-performing stocks too readily.[185] "The disposition effect refers to investors’ reluctance to sell assets that have lost value and greater likelihood of selling assets that have made gains."[186]
1985 Belief, decision-making and behavioral (logical fallacy) Concept development The hot-hand fallacy is first described in a paper by Amos Tversky, Thomas Gilovich, and Robert Vallone.[187] "The hot-hand fallacy effect refers to the tendency for people to expect streaks in sports performance to continue."[188]
1986 Memory bias Research McDaniel and Einstein describe the bizarreness effect as the finding that people have superior memory for bizarre sentences relative to common ones.[189] However, the researchers argue that bizarreness intrinsically does not enhance memory in their paper.[190][191] "The bizarreness effect holds that items associated with bizarre sentences or phrases are more readily recalled than those associated with common sentences or phrases."[192]
1988 Social Concept development The Reactive devaluation bias is proposed by Lee Ross and Constance Stillinger.[193] "Reactive Devaluation is tendency to value the proposal of someone we recognized as an antagonist as being less interesting than if it was made by someone else."[194]
1988 Belief, decision-making and behavioral (prospect theory) Research Samuelson and Zeckhauser demonstrate status quo bias using a questionnaire in which subjects faced a series of decision problems, which were alternately framed to be with and without a pre-existing status quo position. Subjects tended to remain with the status quo when such a position was offered to them.[195] "Status quo bias refers to the phenomenon of preferring that one's environment and situation remain as they already are."[196]
1989 Belief, decision-making and behavioral Concept development The term "curse of knowledge" is coined in a Journal of Political Economy article by economists Colin Camerer, George Loewenstein, and Martin Weber. The curse of knowledge causes people to fail to account for the fact that others don't know the same things that they do.[197]
1990 Belief, decision-making and behavioral (prospect theory) Research Kahneman, Knetsch and Thaler publish a paper containing the first experimental test of the Endowment Effect.[198] It refers to an emotional bias that causes individuals to value an owned object higher, often irrationally, than its market value.
1990 Belief, decision-making and behavioral (confirmation bias) Concept development The phenomenon known as “satisfaction of search” is first described, in which a radiologist fails to detect a second abnormality, apparently because of prematurely ceasing to search the images after detecting a “satisfying” finding.[199] "Satisfaction of search describes a situation in which the detection of one radiographic abnormality interferes with that of others."[200]
1990 Literature Jean-Paul Caverni, Jean-Marc Fabre and Michel Gonzalez publish Cognitive Biases.[201]
1991 Social (egocentric bias) Concept development The term illusory superiority is first used by the researchers Van Yperen and Buunk.[202] Illusory superiority "indicates an individual who has a belief that they are somehow inherently superior to others".[203]
1991 Social (conformity bias) Research Marín and Marín report courtesy bias to be common in Hispanic cultures.[183] The "Courtesy Bias is the reluctance of an individual to give negative feedback for fear of offending."[204]
1994 Belief, decision-making and behavioral Concept development The Women are wonderful effect term is coined by researchers Alice Eagly and Antonio Mladinic in a paper, where they question the widely-held view that there was prejudice against women.[205] "The women are wonderful effect is a phenomenon found in psychological research in which people associate more positive attributes with women as compared to men."[206]
1994 Belief, decision-making and behavioral (logical fallacy) Research Research by Fox, Rogers, and Tversky provides evidence of the subadditivity effect in expert judgment, after having investigated 32 professional options traders.[207] The subadditivity effect is "the tendency to judge probability of the whole to be less than the probabilities of the parts".[208]
1995 Concept development The implicit bias is first described in a publication by Tony Greenwald and Mahzarin Banaji.[209] "Research on implicit bias suggests that people can act on the basis of prejudice and stereotypes without intending to do so."[210]
1996 Research Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky argue that cognitive biases have efficient practical implications for areas including clinical judgment, entrepreneurship, finance, and management.[211][212]
1998 Belief, decision-making and behavioral Research Gilbert et al. report on the presence of impact bias in registered voters.[213] "Impact bias refers to a human tendency to overestimate emotional responses to events and experiences."[214]
1998 Concept development The implicit-association test is introduced in the scientific literature by Anthony Greenwald, Debbie McGhee, and Jordan Schwartz.[215] It is a research method able to provide a range of new possibilities for those looking to conduct research exploring attitudes and beliefs.[216] "The implicit-association test is a flexible task designed to tap automatic associations between concepts (e.g., math and arts) and attributes (e.g., good or bad, male or female, self or other)."[217]
1998 Belief, decision-making and behavioral (extension neglect) Concept development Hsee discovers a less-is-better effect in three contexts: "(1) a person giving a $45 scarf (from scarves ranging from $5-$50) as a gift was perceived to be more generous than one giving a $55 coat (from coats ranging from $50-$500); (2) an overfilled ice cream serving with 7 oz of ice cream was valued more than an underfilled serving with 8 oz of ice cream; (3) a dinnerware set with 24 intact pieces was judged more favourably than one with 31 intact pieces (including the same 24) plus a few broken ones."[218] "The less-is-better effect is the tendency to prefer the smaller or the lesser alternative when choosing individually, but not when evaluating together."[219]
1999 Belief, decision-making and behavioral Concept development The psychological phenomenon of illusory superiority known as Dunning–Kruger effect is identified as a form of cognitive bias in Kruger and Dunning's 1999 study, Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments.[220] "The Dunning-Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which people wrongly overestimate their knowledge or ability in a specific area."[221]
1999 Memory bias Concept development The term "spotlight effect" is coined by Thomas Gilovich and Kenneth Savitsky.[222] The phenomenon first appears in the world of psychology in the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science. "The spotlight effect refers to the tendency to think that more people notice something about you than they do."[223]
1999 Social (egocentric bias) Concept development Kruger and Gilovich publish study titled Naive cynicism in everyday theories of responsibility assessment: On biased assumptions of bias, which formally introduces the concept of naïve cynicism.[224] Naïve cynicism is "the tendency of laypeople to expect other people’s judgments will have a motivational basis and therefore will be biased in the direction of their self-interest."[225]
2002 Belief, decision-making and behavioral Concept development Daniel Kahneman and Shane Frederick propose the process of attribute substitution.[226] "Attribute substitution occurs when an individual has to make a judgment (of a target attribute) that is computationally complex, and instead substitutes a more easily calculated heuristic attribute."[227]
2001 Belief, decision-making and behavioral (framing effect) Research Druckman shows that economic policies receive higher support when framed in terms of the employment rates rather than unemployment rates.[228] "The Framing Effect is a cognitive bias that explains how we react differently to things depending on how they are presented to us."[229]
2002 Social (egocentric bias) Concept development Pronin et al. introduce the concept of "bias blind spot".[230] Bias blind spot "refers to the tendency for people to be able to identify distortionary biases in others, while being ignorant of and susceptible to precisely these biases in their own thinking."[230]
2002 Research Bystander effect. Research indicates that priming a social context may inhibit helping behavior. Imagining being around one other person or being around a group of people can affect a person's willingness to help.[231] "The bystander effect occurs when the presence of others discourages an individual from intervening in an emergency situation."[232]
2002 Belief, decision-making and behavioral (prospect theory) Recognition Daniel Kahneman is awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his work on prospect theory. He is the first non-economist by profession to win the prize.[233][234] "Prospect theory assumes that losses and gains are valued differently, and thus individuals make decisions based on perceived gains instead of perceived losses."[235]
2003 Belief, decision-making and behavioral Concept development The term projection bias is first introduced in the paper Projection Bias in Predicting Future Utility by Loewenstein, O'Donoghue and Rabin.[236] Projection bias "refers to people’s assumption that their tastes or preferences will remain the same over time."[237]
2003 Concept development Lovallo and Kahneman propose an expanded definition of planning fallacy as the tendency to underestimate the time, costs, and risks of future actions and at the same time overestimate the benefits of the same actions. According to this definition, the planning fallacy results in not only time overruns, but also cost overruns and benefit shortfalls.[238] "Planning fallacy refers to a prediction phenomenon, all too familiar to many, wherein people underestimate the time it will take to complete a future task, despite knowledge that previous tasks have generally taken longer than planned."[239]
2003 Belief, decision-making and behavioral (framing effect) Research Johnson and Goldstein report on the framing effect playing a key role in the rate of organ donation.[172] "The term framing effect refers to a phenomenon whereby the choices people make are systematically altered by the language used in the formulation of options."[240]
2004 Social bias Literature American journalist James Surowiecki publishes The Wisdom of Crowds, which explores herd mentality and draws the conclusion that the decisions made by groups are often better and more accurate than those made by any individual member.[241] "Herd mentality (also known as mob mentality) describes a behavior in which people act the same way or adopt similar behaviors as the people around them – often ignoring their own feelings in the process."[241]
2004 Literature Rüdiger Pohl and Rüdiger F. Pohl publish Cognitive Illusions: A Handbook on Fallacies and Biases in Thinking, Judgement and Memory, which provides an overview of research in the area.[242]
2004 Belief, decision-making and behavioral (framing effect) Concept development The concept of the distinction bias is advanced by Christopher K. Hsee and Jiao Zhang of the University of Chicago as an explanation for differences in evaluations of options between joint evaluation mode and separate evaluation mode.[243] Distinction bias is "the tendency to view two options as more dissimilar when evaluating them simultaneously than when evaluating them separately." This bias is similar to the less-is-better effect, which is "the tendency to prefer a smaller set to a larger set judged separately, but not jointly."[32]
2005 Research Haigh and List report on the framing effect playing a key role in stock market forecasting.[172] "The framing effect is a type of cognitive bias that causes people to react to something in different ways depending on how the information is presented to them."[244]
2006 Organization Overcoming Bias launches as a group blog on the "general theme of how to move our beliefs closer to reality, in the face of our natural biases such as overconfidence and wishful thinking, and our bias to believe we have corrected for such biases, when we have done no such thing."[245]
2006 Belief, decision-making and behavioral Concept development The Ostrich effect is coined by Galai & Sade.[246] "The ostrich effect bias is a tendency to ignore dangerous or negative information by ignoring it or burying one's head in the sand."[247]
2007 Belief, decision-making and behavioral Concept development The term recency illusion is coined by Stanford University linguist Arnold Zwicky.[248] The recency illusion is the belief or impression that a word or language usage is of recent origin when it is long-established."[248]
2007 Social (conformity bias) Concept development The concept of an “availability cascade” is defined by professors Timur Kuran and Cass Sunstein.[249] Availability cascade refers to the "self-reinforcing process of collective belief formation by which an expressed perception triggers a chain reaction that gives the perception of increasing plausibility through its rising availability in public discourse."[249]
2008 Belief, decision-making and behavioral Literature Israeli-American author Dan Ariely publishes Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, which explores cognitive biases within the genre of behavioral economics.[250]
2008 Social bias (association fallacy) Concept development The term cheerleader effect is coined by the character Barney Stinson in Not a Father's Day, an episode of the television series How I Met Your Mother. Barney points out to his friends a group of women that initially seem attractive, but who all seem to be very ugly when examined individually.[251] "The cheerleader effect refers to the increase in attractiveness that an individual face experiences when seen in a group of other faces."[252]
2009 Belief, decision-making and behavioral (framing effect) Concept development The concept of denomination effect is proposed by Priya Raghubir, professor at the New York University Stern School of Business, and Joydeep Srivastava, professor at University of Maryland, in their paper.[253] Denomination effect relates "to currency, whereby people are less likely to spend larger bills than their equivalent value in smaller bills."[254]
2010 Belief, decision-making and behavioral (confirmation bias) Concept development The backfire effect is first coined by American political scientist Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler.[255] "The backfire effect is a cognitive bias that causes people who encounter evidence that challenges their beliefs to reject that evidence, and to strengthen their support of their original stance."[256]
2010 Belief, decision-making and behavioral Research The Handbook of Social Psychology recognizes naïve realism as one of "four hard-won insights about human perception, thinking, motivation and behavior that... represent important, indeed foundational, contributions of social psychology."[257] "Naïve realism describes people’s tendency to believe that they perceive the social world “as it is”—as objective reality—rather than as a subjective construction and interpretation of reality."[258]
2010 Belief, decision-making and behavioral Research In a study looking at computer use and musculoskeletal symptoms, Chang et al investigate information bias in the self-reporting of personal computer use. Over a period of 3 weeks, young adults report the duration of computer use each day, as well as musculoskeletal symptoms. Usage-monitor software installed onto participant’s computers provides the reference measure. Results show that the relationships between daily self-reported and software-recorded computer-use duration varied greatly across subject with Spearman's correlations ranging from -0.22 to 0.8. Self-reports generally overestimated computer use when software-recorded durations were less than 3.6 hr, and underestimated when above 3.6 hr.[259][260] "Information bias is any systematic difference from the truth that arises in the collection, recall, recording and handling of information in a study, including how missing data is dealt with."[261]
2010 Literature Sebastian Serfas publishes Cognitive Biases in the Capital Investment Context: Theoretical Considerations and Empirical Experiments on Violations of Normative Rationality, which shows how cognitive biases systematically affect and distort capital investment-related decision making and business judgements.[262]
2011 Belief, decision-making and behavioral Concept development The IKEA effect is identified and named by Michael I. Norton of Harvard Business School, Daniel Mochon of Yale, and Dan Ariely of Duke University, who publish the results of three studies in this year.[263] "The [IKEA effect] is the cognitive phenomena where customers get more excited and place a higher value in the products they have partially created, modified or personalized."[264]
2011 Literature Daniel Kahneman publishes Thinking, Fast and Slow, which covers cognitive biases, in addition to his work in other fields.[265]
2011 Memory bias Concept development The Google effect, also known as “digital amnesia”, is first described by Betsy Sparrow from Columbia University and her colleagues. Their paper describes the results of several memory experiments involving technology.[266][267] The Google effect "represents people’s tendency to forget information that they can find online, particularly by using search engines such as Google."[268]
2011 Belief, decision-making and behavioral Notable case The look-elsewhere effect, more generally known in statistics as the problem of multiple comparisons, gains some media attention in the context of the search for the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider.[269] The look-elsewhere effect "occurs when a statistically significant observation is found but, actually, arose by chance and due to the size of the parameter space and sample observed."[270]
2011 Literature American neuroscientist Dean Buonomano publishes Brain Bugs: How the Brain's Flaws Shape Our Lives, which attempts to explain the brain’s inherent flaws.[271]
2013 (February 12) Literature American psychologist Mahzarin Banaji publishes Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People, which explains the science that shapes our likes and dislikes and our judgments about people’s character, abilities and potential. The book uses the implicit-association test, an assessment that measures attitudes and beliefs that people may be unwilling or unable to report.[272]
2013 Belief, decision-making and behavioral Concept development The term “end-of-history illusion” originates in a journal article by psychologists Jordi Quoidbach, Daniel Gilbert, and Timothy Wilson detailing their research on the phenomenon and leveraging the phrase coined by Francis Fukuyama's 1992 book of the same name.[273] The end-of-history illusion occurs "when people tend to underestimate how much they will change in the future.”[274]
2013 Literature Swiss writer Rolf Dobelli publishes The Art of Thinking Clearly, which describes the most common thinking errors, ranging from cognitive biases to envy and social distortions.[275]
2016 Literature Adrian Nantchev publishes 50 Cognitive Biases for an Unfair Advantage in Entrepreneurship.[276]
2019 Literature Henry Priest publishes Biases and Heuristics: The Complete Collection of Cognitive Biases and Heuristics That Impair Decisions in Banking, Finance and Everything Else.[277]

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See also

External links


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