Cognitive Bias Examples & Meaning

List of cognitive bias examples and what do they mean? plus the definition explained.

List of Cognitive Bias Examples & Meaning

Cognitive Bias Definition

A cognitive bias is an inability to see and judge information, situations and people objectively and clearly due to one’s own preconceptions or biases.

Cognitive biases are ways of thinking that work against rational thinking, making good decisions and generally being able to see things fairly and objectively.

Our own personal beliefs, biases, knowledge and understandings can influence how we see the world and how we judge others.

Examples of Common Cognitive Biases


Relying too heavily on one piece of information about a subject or person which leads to making assumptions.

Automation bias

Relying solely on our automatic reactions and processes to make judgements and decisions.

Bandwagon effect

Assuming certain ideas, beliefs and ways of thinking are correct because others do. This is linked to collective or group thinking.

Barnum effect

People excepting general statements as more accurate personal readings that apply solely to them. For example astrology or fortune telling.

Confirmation bias

Only remembering certain information or facts that support a belief or preconception about someone or something.

Courtesy bias

Allowing socially acceptable ways of thinking to dominate and influence our own opinions and thoughts, even if we disagree with or know the socially accepted belief is wrong.

Curse of knowledge

An inability to understand and consider people’s different perspectives. For example the perspective of a person that has less knowledge about a particular subject.

Endowment effect

Only willing to sell an item for far more than you’re willing to pay for it yourself.

Expectation bias

Believing, publishing data that confirms our own personal beliefs, expectations. Discrediting evidence, facts, data that disagrees with beliefs or expectations.

Framing effect

Misinterpretation of information depending on how the information is presented.

Functional fixedness

Being restricted by traditions. For example not being able to use an item or object in a way that’s outside of its traditional purpose.

Human egotism bias

Believing that humans are more important than they’re. Also believing that humans should be treated differently than animals.

Kruger effect

A tendency for a person to either over or underestimate their own knowledge or abilities.

Memory bias

Remembering, events, situations differently than they actually were in order to confirm one’s own beliefs and ideas.


Assigning human character traits and intentions to animals and objects. This could be linked to mental projection.

Personalized perception bias

Not properly considering new evidence that conflicts with their own preconceptions.

Positive past bias

Seeing the positive of the past and the negative of the future, in terms of society or the world in general.

Value illusion

Inability to see that small amounts of spending equal to a large accumulation of money spent, compared to spending large amounts in one go.

Status quo bias

A strong need, or irrational feelings of safety for things to remain the same.


Judging an individual or group of people with certain characteristics a certain way based on limited information about a person or group.

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