Occasionally, we all get into a situation where we have contrasting opinions about two individuals, even when we don’t have any contextual evidence to prove it. We all fall prey to these mistakes in our everyday decision-making. Based on my observations, I want to share with you what I think are the three most common fallacies that we witness daily in our lives.
1. The Halo Effect
The Halo Effect comes into action when we like or dislike something or somebody. Often, we use an easy to obtain or remarkable feature or information and we use that information to interpret the entire picture. Wikipedia says “The Halo Effect occurs when a single aspect of something shines out in such a way that it affects the way we see the whole picture”. For example, if we like a person, then we see the attributes of that person as more favorable. The opposite is also true.
2. The Confirmation Bias
Research has proven consistently that people have a tendency to confirm their beliefs. Confirmation bias is the tendency of people to favor information that confirms their beliefs or hypothesis. This is extremely evident in today’s social media as you might commonly find people posting articles that confirms their beliefs and hypothesis, though you can always find an article that says exactly the opposite. Wikipedia says “Confirmation biases contribute to overconfidence in personal beliefs and can maintain or strengthen beliefs in the face of contrary evidence”.
3. The Affect Heuristic
The affect heuristic is in play when we are weighing the benefits and risks of something. If you like something, you believe that the risks are smaller and the benefits are greater than they actually are. The opposite is also true. One’s emotional reaction to some issue (say, public education system) determines how one weighs the benefits and risks of the issue. Wikipedia says “it is the equivalent of going with your gut”.