A cognitive bias is a persistent, biased pattern of thinking or decision making. Memory cognitive biases affect our understanding of the past and, through this, our decisions about the future and our relationships with others. These biases can have material impacts on behaviors and decisions in the world of work.
These cognitive biases all relate to the accuracy of our memories. As a theme, we generally tend to modify our memories in ways that cast us in a better light than others would perceive us in. This category of cognitive biases can have a significant effect on our performance at work as our false memories can affect our future performance and decision making. They can also, of course, affect our personal lives.
Choice Supportive Bias
We reevaluate and re-frame decisions that we’ve made in the past, convincing ourselves that they were more informed and considered than they actually were.
We incorrectly apply our current attitudes and behavioral patterns to our past self, re-framing our past activities, decisions and behaviors in light of who we are in the present.
We incorrectly remember the past in such a way as to improve our sense of who we are. We do this by inflating our levels of performance such as scores achieved, times achieved, volume of work delivered or other, softer and more social factors.
We incorrectly reflect on prior moments of decision making and past events so as to convince ourselves that we “were right all along”, when in truth we were ill-informed or incorrect in our assessments in the past.
We remember things that are funny more easily than we remember things that are not funny.
Illusion of Truth Effect
We are more likely to deem statements that we’ve heard in the past and stored in our memory to be truthful than new statements, regardless of the veracity of the statements in question.
We are prone to falsely remembering correlations between unrelated events where no correlations actually exit.
We are better at learning and remembering when we spread the act of learning over a longer period of time than if we condense our learning hours into a shorter period of time. Cramming is less effective than spending the same amount of learning time over several weeks.
Next in Line Effect
We are worse at remembering the things the person who spoke before us said when we’re speaking in groups, than at remembering things at other points in the conversation. Just think how little you remember of what someone who introduces themselves to a group says if you know you’re introducing yourself to the group next.
We think the world is more interested in us than it really is. As a result, we consistently overestimate how much others notice our appearance, actions and behaviors. We remember others noticing us much more that others not noticing us.
We incorrectly remember interactions with members of stereotyped groups in such a way that our memories are more aligned to our perception of the pre-judged stereotype.
Tasks that we partially complete, or that we fail to complete, are more prominent in our memories than tasks that we actually complete.
You can listen to our podcast, below, on nudging to learn more about how our behaviors can be influenced:
The World of Work Project View
We think that cognitive biases are fascinating and important. Memory cognitive biases are almost certainly very helpful for our wellbeing and self-esteem, but they do mean that we may make errors of judgement in the present, based on false analysis of the past.
The good thing though is that, in the future, we’ll probably not remember that we’ve made these mistakes….
Our Podcast is a great way to learn more about hundreds of fascinating topics from around the world of work.
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.