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Cognitive Biases: Start Here

A guide to identifying cognitive biases, their categories and origins


This guide is designed to help you get started in identifying cognitive biases, determining the category for each cognitive bias, and locating the original sources of the discovery of the bias. 

How to Use This Guide

  1. Review the list of Cognitive Biases included under the List of Cognitive Biases tab and select one that you are interested in for your project.
  2. Determine the category(ies) in which your selected cognitive bias fits. This information is included in the List of Cognitive Biases tab and the Graphic Resources tab.
  3. Review the descriptions provided in the articles in the List of Cognitive Biases tab and the Graphic Resources tab. You will find basic descriptions in the lists, charts, and articles included.
  4. Use the Origins tab to get started on finding origins of select cognitive biases. You may need to search for the specific bias in the library's databases. Check the Academy 4SC source for some of the common cognitive biases, as this gives you a quick overview of the history and origin. NOTE: An important step in researching cognitive biases is reviewing the sources that an author used. Make sure you review the bibliography (references) at the end of an article. These contains very useful links to the original studies, experiments and papers that gave rise to the cognitive bias.
  5. Use the Articles tab to access the library's databases for specific cognitive biases. You will find many articles describing experiments, history, examples, and other useful information. The Books & Media tab and the Websites tab provide additional sources of information.
  6. Use the Citations tab to find examples of how to cite your sources in MLA or Chicago styles.


Essential Info for this Guide

The research guide contains some of the most useful resources in beginning research for your Cognitive Bias project. Start at this page to get a basic understanding of cognitive biases and how this guide is organized. Additional resources and more information are available on the other pages of this guide.



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Definition of Cognitive Biases

"Cognitive biases are judgment errors that people commit due to irrational thought processes. Despite the fact that they often produce unfavorable consequences, cognitive biases are considered psychologically satisfying and convenient. Cognitive biases are often difficult to overcome because they help people simplify the world around them."  

("Cognitive bias." Salem Press Encyclopedia of Health. Salem Press)

Introductory Videos

Subject Guide

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Dr. Paula Williams


This guide was created by Dr. Paula Williams.