The affect heuristic occurs when our current emotional state or mood influences our decisions. Instead of evaluating the situation objectively, we rely on our “gut feelings” and respond according to how we feel. As a result, the affect heuristic can lead to suboptimal decision-making.
The representativeness heuristic occurs when we estimate the probability of an event based on how similar it is to a known situation. In other words, we compare it to a situation, prototype, or stereotype we already have in mind.
Although representativeness provides a quick and efficient way to make decisions, it can cause us to overlook important information and draw incorrect conclusions.
Anchoring bias describes people’s tendency to rely too heavily on the first piece of information they receive on a topic. Regardless of the accuracy of that information, people use it as a reference point, or anchor, to make subsequent judgments. Because of this, anchoring bias can lead to poor decisions in various contexts, such as salary negotiations, medical diagnoses, and purchases.
The framing effect occurs when people react differently to something depending on whether it is presented as positive or negative. In other words, our decision is influenced by how the information is presented rather than what is being said.
The framing effect can impact our decision-making skills and can be observed in a number of contexts and fields (e.g., psychology, political communication, and marketing).
The availability heuristic occurs when we judge the likelihood of an event based on how easily we can recall similar events. If we can vividly remember instances of that event, we deem it to be more common than it actually is.
Due to the availability heuristic, our perception of reality can be distorted. This can lead to poor decision-making (especially when assessing risks) and to a few types of research bias, including recall bias.
The halo effect occurs when our overall positive impression of a person, product, or brand is based on a single characteristic. If our first impression is positive, the subsequent judgments we make will be colored by this first impression.
The halo effect can hamper our ability to think critically. It can be particularly problematic in decision-making contexts, such as job interviews and purchase decisions.
Information bias is a type of error that occurs when key study variables are incorrectly measured or classified. Information bias can affect the findings of observational or experimental studies due to systematic differences in how data is obtained from various study groups.
Information bias is also known as measurement bias or misclassification.
Self-selection bias (also called volunteer bias) refers to the bias that can occur when individuals are allowed to choose whether they want to participate in a research study. Because participants often differ from nonparticipants in ways significant to the research, self-selection can lead to a biased sample and affects the generalizability of your results.
Cognitive bias is the tendency to act in an irrational way due to our limited ability to process information objectively. It is not always negative, but it can cloud our judgment and affect how clearly we perceive situations, people, or potential risks.
Everyone is susceptible to cognitive bias, and researchers are no exception to that. Therefore, cognitive bias can be a source of research bias.
Undercoverage bias occurs when a part of the population is excluded from your sample. As a result, the sample is no longer representative of the target population. Non-probability sampling designs are susceptible to this type of research bias.