What is the difference between availability bias vs confirmation bias?

Although both are common types of cognitive bias, they refer to different ways of processing information.

  • The availability bias (or availability heuristic) refers to the tendency people have to rely on information that is easier to recall when faced with a decision.
  • Confirmation bias is the tendency to selectively search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one’s preconceived ideas.

In other words, the availability heuristic gives preference to information that is easy to recall, while confirmation bias gives preference to information that aligns with our existing beliefs. Even though they are different, they both cause us to focus on only a subset of information.