What are typical mistakes of thought?

There are a lot of cognitive defects or thinking errors.The list is frighteningly long, reading it can bring you to strange ideas.

Examples of very common thinking errors include:

Confirmation Error: When we have a view, we usually only look at what confirms it and ignore anything that speaks against it.Science is a project to avoid this error. Even Francis Bacon knew: counting the hits and ignoring the failures is the wurz of all superstition. There is an imbalance: it doesn’t matter how many white swans we’ve seen – it doesn’t follow “All swans are white.” A single black Australian singswan refutes that. We like to say, ‘The exception confirms the rule’. This is total nonsense – the exception refutes the rule, and definitively.

Logical fallacies: Logical conclusions presuppose formal correctness.If the premise is correct, the conclusion follows. But few people know what constitutes a formally correct conclusion – in general, only mathematicians and computer scientists, philosophers and scientists know this. Most other people judge the goodness of a logical conclusion on the basis of whether the conclusion corresponds to their view – then the logical conclusion is good, otherwise it is bad (persuasionbias).Here, too, the confirmation error plays a role.

Polarization: We tend to look only at the extremes, the grey area in between often escapes us.

Over-generalization: You fail in a test and tend to think that you are a total failure in all areas.Depressed people tend to be very strong, but it can also lead to the opposite, an excessive self-confidence – because I am very good at the field A, I am also in the fields C, D, E, F, …

Prematureconclusion: we tend to form a view, even if we know too few facts.Combined with the confirmation error, this leads to a hasty forming of an opinion and then sticking with it.

Emotionalconclusions: “I feel it, so it must be true” is the basis of many misjudgments.Feelings are not facts, but they are often confused with them.

Incorrect group comparison: We compare two groups by comparing the best members of one group with the worst of the other group.Atheists are generally evil (over-generalization) because Hitler, Stalin and Mao were also atheists, while Christians are the good ones, as you can see in Mother Theresa, Mahatma Gandhi and Albert Schweitzer. Funny about the comparison is that Stalin and Hitler were not atheists, Ghandi was Hindu and Albert Schweitzer turned his back on Christianity. But it doesn’t get any better when you add more apt people. In addition, the groups are often formed arbitrarily on the basis of a property, then polarizes and all this is generalized.

Halo Effect: We often pretend that a particular property or deed radiates to others.Whoever lies, always lies, who once did good, is therefore a good person – here a characteristic is taken and this seems to be decisive for the whole human being.

Just world: We all want a just world, and we often pretend to be.If someone is unlucky, it is his fault, because he has done something bad before (which is unrelated to the bad luck).

Follow-up effect: This is the assumption that the majority is mostly or always right.This may often be the case, but it only applies under specific conditions.

These are ten of the most common errors.As I said, the list is endlessly long.

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