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Ever since reading 'How to fail at almost everything and still win big' I've kept a list of biases and psychological effects on my phone.

Knowing how irrational people are makes life make a lot more sense.

    1. The ambiguity effect

    The ambiguity effect is a cognitive bias were decision making is affected by a lack of information, or "ambiguity".[1] The effect implies that people tend to select options for which the probability of a favorable outcome is known, over an option for which the probability of a favorable outcome is unknown.

    2. Anchoring

    Anchoring or focalism is a cognitive bias where an individual depends too heavily on an initial piece of information offered (considered to be the "anchor") when making decisions.

    Anchoring occurs when, during decision making, an individual depends on an initial piece of information to make subsequent judgments. Those objects near the anchor tend to be assimilated toward it and those further away tend to be displaced in the other direction. Once the value of this anchor is set, all future negotiations, arguments, estimates, etc. are discussed in relation to the anchor. This bias occurs when interpreting future information using this anchor. For example, the initial price offered for a used car, set either before or at the start of negotiations, sets an arbitrary focal point for all following discussions. Prices discussed in negotiations that are lower than the anchor may seem reasonable, perhaps even cheap to the buyer, even if said prices are still relatively higher than the actual market value of the car.[1]

    3. Availability Heuristics

    After seeing news stories about child abductions, people may judge that the likelihood of this event is greater. Media coverage can help fuel a person's example bias with widespread and extensive coverage of unusual events, such as homicide or airline accidents, and less coverage of more routine, less sensational events, such as common diseases or car accidents. For example, when asked to rate the probability of a variety of causes of death, people tend to rate "newsworthy" events as more likely[citation needed] because they can more readily recall an example from memory[citation needed]. Moreover, unusual and vivid events like homicides, shark attacks, or lightning are more often reported in mass media than common and un-sensational causes of death like common diseases.

    4. Availability Cascade

    An availability cascade is a self-reinforcing cycle that explains the development of certain kinds of collective beliefs. A novel idea or insight, usually one that seems to explain a complex process in a simple or straightforward manner, gains rapid currency in the popular discourse by its very simplicity and by its apparent insightfulness. Its rising popularity triggers a chain reaction within the social network: individuals adopt the new insight because other people within the network have adopted it, and on its face it seems plausible. The reason for this increased use and popularity of the new idea involves both the availability of the previously obscure term or idea, and the need of individuals using the term or idea to appear to be current with the stated beliefs and ideas of others, regardless of whether they in fact fully believe in the idea that they are expressing. Their need for social acceptance, and the apparent sophistication of the new insight, overwhelm their critical thinking.

    5. Play hero

    Is there anything you can do for me? - this gives them an opportunity to play hero and help you. Everyone wants to be a hero.

    6. Backfire effect

    The backfire effect is the tendency of some people to resist accepting evidence that conflicts with their beliefs. The effect is demonstrated when people presented with that conflicting information become even more convinced of their original beliefs rather than questioning them.

    7. Bandwagon effect

    Why do people prefer popular options.


    Bandwagon Effect

    , explained.



    What is the Bandwagon Effect?

    The bandwagon effect helps to explain social trends. It is also affects politics, as polls can create self-reinforcing cycles in which the top candidates gain advantage.


    To an extent, it is rational to choose options that are more popular. There is a good possibility that your preferences will be similar to those of others, and for this reason, if there is no other information, one should generally pick the more popular option. However, people are sometimes willing to ignore other factors, and make choices based only on the choices of others. This effect gets stronger as the popularity of one choice increases. The bandwagon effect can be very detrimental as well, with one notable example being the creation of market bubbles.

    8. Barnum Effect

    The Barnum effect, also called the Forer effect, or less commonly the Barnum-Forer effect, is a common psychological phenomenon whereby individuals give high accuracy ratings to descriptions of their personality that supposedly are tailored specifically to them, that are in fact vague and general enough to apply to a wide range of people. This effect can provide a partial explanation for the widespread acceptance of some paranormal beliefs and practices, such as astrology, fortune telling, aura reading, and some types of personality tests.

    9. Base rate neglect

    The base rate fallacy, also called base rate neglect or base rate bias, is a fallacy. If presented with related base rate information (i.e. generic, general information) and specific information (information pertaining only to a certain case), the mind tends to ignore the former and focus on the latter.

    10. Choice-supportive Bias

    The tendency to retroactively ascribe positive attributes to an option one has selected. It is cognitive bias.

    What is remembered about a decision can be as important as the decision itself. Memories are distorted into remembering the positive aspects leading to the chosen choice and negative aspects leading to the rejected options.

    People tend to remember the choices they make to be better than they actually were. People tend to attribute positive features to the chosen choice and negative to the rejected choice.

    11. Selling

    When selling have the customer write down answers about your company (or get them to answer and write it down for them). This gets them engaged early on. Once there engaged it will be much easier to persuade them to buy. Let them go home and look over the answers /notes (time spent thinking will only increase its importance).

    Have quotes about making choices. Working towards a better future. And doing what's right on the wall. This will put them into the right mood before discussions even start.

    Everyone knows they could be better. By highlighting just how much they still have to learn then highlighting how your product can help they are much more likely to buy.

    Who do you want as your initial customers? Who will talk and spread the word the most? Focus on making them happy. Make them your sales people.

    Think of a dialogue that can be reused. Set the fear into them about how bad their future will be without the product then offer them the solution to their problems in the form of your product.

    After its been bought remind them regularly that their choice was right and that dismal future is moving further and further away from them.

    Sex sells - make people feel that with your product they'll stand out from the pact and be even more attractive.

    Fear - by using your product they'll be part of an ever growing group. Theirs safety in numbers and if after scaring them you can make them feel warm and safe you'll have a sale.

    What do you want people to feel? Ask questions to make them associate the feelings with you /the company. Even if they say no, give them something and 'attach' the good feelings to that before they leave. 'before you go I want to give you this and I want you to think of this interaction ever time you see it. If you ever change your mind I'm always here'

    Add 'before it's too late' at the end of the deal. It adds a sense of fear (people are more likely to act on fear than 'because its good for them' and it gets them thinking past the deal. If they already imagine life afterwards their more likely to agree.

    People are more likely to spend more if a bigger number has been planted in their mind beforehand. As a joke or for any other reason.

    Plant something large in their mind then talk business

    12. Agenda Setting Theory

    Ask surveys with multiple options. All of witch get them to focus on one positive aspect of the company.

    People are more likely to buy if you ask them to focus on the best qualities of your product and not other companies products.

    Don't mention other brands

    People are more likely to put extra importance onto areas they are focusing on. Get people to focus on the most important aspects of your product before introducing it and when you do they'll love it even more.

    You can use images and other anchors to get people to focus on things subconsusly

    The media rarely produce change directly, by presenting compelling evidence that sweeps an audience to new positions ;they are much more likely to persuade indirectly, by giving selected issues better coverage than other issues and facts.

    13. What is focal is presumed casual

    What you see is what you presume caused the series of events. If you view things from a different angle you will view the cause of the situation differently.

    You want to be linked to good causes. When good happens be focal and make sure you're seen. Hide and focus attention on others when bad is going down.

    Whoever face is more visible is judged as more causal.

    14. Fear setting

    Communication that presents the most threatening consequences work better than those presenting the opposite, positive message.

    15. Want more?

    I still have lots more notes on this subject. I think this current list is long enough. Would you like to see more?

    Maybe I'll rewrite all my notes and make a new book.

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