The cognitive bias collection

Our minds often play tricks on us. It’s human nature. Believe it or not, people are Predictably Irrational (thanks, Dan Ariely). Marketers and salespeople use these tricks to their advantage; corporations have spent billions in research learning how to exploit consumers using these tricks.  Everyone should know about them. I’ve spent the last couple of years writing a series of essays on what behavioral scientists call “cognitive biases.” I’m an amateur economist, but my editor on most of these pieces was Jeff Kreisler, Dan Ariely’s co-author.  Here’s a collection of links to these essays.  A lot of the experiments have entertaining names and are fun to read about (like the Ikea Effect!).  I hope you enjoy them.




Know Your Nuggets: Choice Overload

When fear takes hold, everything is a threat. And that’s really scary. The dark side of ‘attentional bias’

Loss aversion: Why we hate losing more than we like winning, and why that’s a trap

Time’s running out! You’d better read this — the scary power of scarcity

Know Your Nuggets: The Identifiable Victim Effect

Why ‘getting attached’ costs you real money — the Endowment Effect

Hyperbolic discounting: It’s now vs. the future, and it’s not a fair fight

The Dunning-Kruger effect: It’s not what you think

Groupthink and false consensus were already dangerous; then Facebook showed up

Fairness — yes, fairness — is essential to capitalism, business, and economics

Know Your Nuggets: Operational Transparency

Know Your Nuggets: Social Proof

Sunk cost: Don’t ‘throw good money after bad’

Nerd Nuggets: What is the IKEA Effect?

Why ‘give and you shall receive’ is good business

Where I did leave that? Oyea, on Google

Get things done with concrete planning

‘All’s well that ends well’ is good business

Know Your Nuggets: Endowed Progress

‘Didn’t I just see that?’ – the frequency illusion bias, and what investors need to learn

You’re not wrong, you just have a small sample size problem

Blown your New Year’s resolution? Don’t give up. Just move the finish line closer


Why the default option is so enticing, and how it’s used against you


The hottest business idea you’ve never heard of — ‘nudge units’

January goals fizzled? Try ‘temptation bundling’





Inside the “Cult of Busy” — a special report for

Finally, data proves that worker financial anxiety is bad for employers, too

Tell the truth. You just like (or hate) Trump, don’t you? That’s life … a bunch of likes


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About Bob Sullivan 1644 Articles
BOB SULLIVAN is a veteran journalist and the author of four books, including the 2008 New York Times Best-Seller, Gotcha Capitalism, and the 2010 New York Times Best Seller, Stop Getting Ripped Off! His latest, The Plateau Effect, was published in 2013, and as a paperback, called Getting Unstuck in 2014. He has won the Society of Professional Journalists prestigious Public Service award, a Peabody award, and The Consumer Federation of America Betty Furness award, and been given Consumer Action’s Consumer Excellence Award.

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