cognitive bias

When we evaluate and compare a range of data points — whether that data is related to health outcomes, head counts, or menu prices — we tend to neglect the relative strength of the evidence and treat it as simply binary, according to new research. “People show a strong tendency to dichotomize data distributions and… Read more

Why do many problems in life seem to stubbornly stick around, no matter how hard people work to fix them? It turns out that a quirk in the way human brains process information means that when something becomes rare, we sometimes see it in more places than ever. Think of a “neighborhood watch” made up… Read more

Being optimistic about a future event may lead you to remember it more positively after it’s over, findings from new research indicate. “Our results suggest that imagining an upcoming event can essentially ‘color’ your memory for that event once it comes to pass. Research has shown that healthy adults tend to have an unrealistically favorable… Read more

In a now classic experiment, the psychologists Richard E Nisbett and Timothy Wilson at the University of Michigan laid out a range of items, such as pairs of stockings, and asked people to select one. Participants consistently preferred the items on their most right-hand side. But when they were asked to explain their choices, they… Read more

Chronic stress has a dramatically affect on decision making in cost-benefit conflicts, neuroscientists at MIT report. In a study of mice, they found that stressed animals were far likelier to choose high-risk, high-payoff options. The researchers also found that impairments of a specific brain circuit underlie this abnormal decision making, and they showed that they… Read more