Are You Guilty Of Cognitive Bias?

Jamie O'Neill

In situations we haven’t faced before, preexisting biases – a combination of our environment, experiences, and emotions – can profoundly influence the decisions we make and even leave us open to manipulation. Some of these cognitive biases are well-understood and easy to recognize—stereotyping, for example. However, there are many other biases that you may not be aware you’ve encountered when you make a decision.

Imagine the following scenario: After recently seeing a report about a fatal plane crash, you choose to drive rather than taking your next cross-country trip by plane. Statistically, you are far more likely to be involved in a car accident than a plane crash, but because the details of the plane crash are easier to recall than the data for long-distance car incidents, you perceive your chances of being involved in a plane crash as far higher than they actually are. This is called the availability heuristic bias.

A recent collection of illustrations, produced by Towergate Insurance, highlight some of these common cognitive biases, including the availability heuristic, and offer advice on how to recognize and counteract the negative effects of the bias. Have any of these biases affected your decision-making?

Cognitive Biases Infographic

The infographic originally appeared on

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Jamie O'Neill

About Jamie O'Neill

Jamie O'Neill is a digital executive based in London, working in collaboration with Towergate Insurance SME to produce unique and informative online content that helps consumers.