Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘effects

These Principles are Not for problem solving: Just how people behave on Average

Many articles and books have been published for every single one of these principles, effects and laws.

I stumbled on a term-paper that a student of mine submitted in 2002 for the course of Human Factors in Engineering and I said: Why not? It is a good topic to post

Most of these principles were formulated by psychology researchers and they are good guidelines of what to expect in pitfalls and erroneous judgement when designing for people usage.

These laws and principles cannot be classified as rules for solving problems as is commonly misunderstood in natural sciences.

Many of these principles were the results of experiments with failed hypothesis because they were not tightly controlled.

Basically, if you know how average people behave in your community, you can design for effective results

Consequently, the first critical phase in any project is to comprehend the idiosyncrasies of the particular community in order to design valid solutions

First, check the ones you have already heard of, or read about in your course works.

  1. Hawthorn Effect
  2. Placebo Effect
  3. Occam’s razor
  4. Peter principle
  5. Parkinson’s Law
  6. Murphy’s law
  7. Pareto Principle
  8. Rule of Redundant systems
  9. Zeigarnik Effect
  10. Contrast principle
  11. Cognitive Dissonance
  12. Perceptual Consistency
  13. Turnpike Effect

Actually, last year I read a book “How to think clear” and it developed on many of these biases and effects. I reviewed many of the chapters.

Hawthorn Effect

The motivated people have greater effect than the solution presented to resolve a problem.

In the mid 1930’s a vast experiment involved thousands of employees who were supposed to ignore that an experiment is taking place. It turned out that the employees got wind and overdid their best at work. An example of an experiment that was not very well controlled.

Placebo Effect

A harmless with No pharmacological effects may make sick people feeling better if they were told the medicine is part of the cure.

Apparently, placebo has positive effect even though the sick person was told that it is a harmless medicine. (Maybe the sick person doesn’t really believe what he was told?)

William of Occam’s razor

The explanation with the fewest assumptions is the correct alternative in most cases

Peter principle

Employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence. When a competent employee rises to a higher level of complexities then they fall back to an incompetent job where they are not positioned to fill.

Parkinson’s law:

Work expands to fill the time allotted to it: The procrastination effect.

Any work must be subdivided to last a definite time span so that the entire project is finished according to a timetable and on schedule.

Give a student a project that can be done within a few days and he will gladly leave it to the last minutes after a few months for the scheduled time for presentation.

Murphy’s law

If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong. We tend not to expect what we think is an unexpected event or behaviour.

Pareto Principle

A small fraction of people do most of the job. The wealthiest are a tiny fraction of the total population. A fraction of the items sold generate most of the profit or revenue.

Rule of Redundant systems

Every critical system requires a redundant backup system

Zeigarnik Effect

We prefer to have a closure on a task before starting another one. Handling simultaneous tasks is difficult for most people and they are upset when they are asked to interrupt a job in midstream in order to tend to another job.

Contrast principle

The last event in a stream of successive events is retained and valued more than any of the other events. If the latest person seemed nice, he is viewed as nicer than he is. A good suggestion offered after a series of bad suggestions feels better than it is.

Cognitive Dissonance

Hearing about a crime committed creates a dissonance in the belief system of morality and justice and the event that occurred.

If we believe that a certain event should not happen then we tend to find fault in the victim.

Perceptual Consistency

We tend to pigeon-hole people and circumstances into simple generalized entities.

Turnpike Effect

The availability of unforeseen utility of a resource or facility generates greater use than was predicted.

Improve the road condition of a side route and people will drive on it more frequently than expected.

Fallacies, Biases, Illusions, effects, trendencies, errors… and “The Art of Thinking Clear”

By Rolf Dobelli

This book is a simple guide to “less irrational” behaviors and tendencies, as we get aware of the hundreds of biases that are ingrained in our behaviors.

I have reviewed two dozen of these 99 listed biases and added my comments.

“It isn’t what we know that gets in our way. It is what we believe” Physicist  Harold Puthoff

“We’d rather be roughly right than precisely right” Lord Keynes

“Faced with the choice between changing our mind and proving there is no need to do so, everyone gets busy on the proof” (John Kenneth Galbraith)

1. Survivorship Bias

2. Swimmer’s body illusion

3. Clustering illusion

4. Social proof effect

5. Sunk cost effect

6. Reciprocity

7. Confirmation

8. Authority

9. Contrast effect

10. Availability

11. Getting worse before getting better fallacy

12. Story bias

13. In hindsight illusion

14. Overconfidence bias

15. Chauffeur knowledge

16. Illusion of control

17. Insensitive Super-Response tendency

18. Regression to mean fallacy

19. Outcome bias

20. Paradox of choice

21. Liking bias

22. Endowment effect

23. Coincidence fallacy

24. Group think effect

25. Neglect of Probability

26. Scarcity Error

27. Base-rate neglect

28. Gambler’s fallacy

29. The Anchor

30. Induction

31. Loss aversion

32. Social loafing

33. Exponential growth

34. Winner’s curse

35. Fundamental attribution error

36 False causality

37. Halo effect

38. Alternative path

39. Forecast illusion

40. Conjunction fallacy

41. Framing

42. Action bias

43. Omission bias

44. Self-serving

45. Hedonic treadmill

46. Sel-selection bia

47. Beginner’s luck

48. Cognitive dissonance

49. Hyperbolic discounting

50. Because Justification

51. Decision fatigue

52. Contagion bias

53. Problems with averages

54. Motivation crowding

55. Twaddle tendency

56. Will Roger phenomenon

57. Information bias

58. Effort justification

59. Law of small numbers

60. Expectations

61. Simple logic fallacy

62. Forer effect

63. Volunteer’s folly

64. Affect heuristic

65 Introspection illusion

66. Inability to close doors

67. Neomania

68. Sleeper effect

69. Alternative blindness

70. Social comparison

71. Primacy and recency effects

72. “Not invented here” syndrome

73. The Black Swan

74. Domain Dependence

75. False-Consensus

76. Falsification of History bias

77. In-group, out-group biases

78. Ambiguity aversion

79. Default, standard option effects

80. Fear of regret

81. Salience effect

82. House-Money effect

83. Procrastination

84. Envy vs jealousy

85. Personification

86. Illusion of paying attention

87. Planning fallacy

88. Zeigarnik effect

89. Illusion of skills

90. Feature=positive effect

91. Cherry picking tendency

92. Single cause fallacy

93 Intention to treat errors

94. News illusion

Note 1: As you read these 100 tendencies to commit errors of judgment, try to add other systematic biases to the list

Try to add a title or a short statement that succinctly describe the topic.

Note 2: The exigencies of living lead us to stick to most of our biases and fallacies. We tend to procrastinate acting on our well-intentioned decisions that could correct our ill-conceived methodology to run our life.

Note 3:  To better comprehend these types of behavioral errors or shortcomings, the best way is to try various taxonomies (categorizing) for these biases, fallacies… that lead to errors

1. You may define these terms and delimit how they differ and sort them accordingly

2. You may sort them according to cognitive, social, evolutionary perspectives

3. Sort them according to your field of interest so that you rely on a shorter list when reviewing failed projects and erasing the biases that were taken care of.

4. Group them for correlation or seemingly contradictory behaviors







January 2021

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