Analysing data? 15 concepts from the psychologist’s couch to watch out for |

If you’re in the process of collecting, analysing or applying data, here are 15 concepts from the psychologist’s couch to be mindful of:

  • If we choose the wrong samples (whether consciously or not), we distort our analysis (“selection bias”) – okay, so this was an obvious one
  • We assume that other people think and feel the way we do about things, so we don’t bother collecting data (“projection bias”)
  • Thinking future probabilities are influenced by past events, when they are in fact unchanged. For example, “This coin has flipped heads five times in a row, so the chance of tails coming out on the sixth flip is much higher than heads” (Gambler’s fallacy”)
  • Over-confidence – People who say they are “99% certain” of something, are wrong 40% of the time
  • Drawing different conclusions from data depending on who presents it to us (framing)
  • Overestimating our good qualities, and underestimating our bad qualities (Illusory superiority bias)
  • Paying more attention to negative experiences and information (Negativity bias)
  • Letting our perceptions be affected by our expectations (Selective perception)
  • Rejecting any evidence that does not support the paradigms we believe in (Semmelweis reflex)
  • Thinking that something is true simply because we believe or want it to be true (Subjective validation)
  • Seeing patterns which don’t exist by wrongly connecting unrelated pieces of information (Texas sharpshooter fallacy)
  • We prefer for things to stay the same (Status quo bias)
  • Not planning for a disaster just because it has never happened before (Normalcy bias)
  • We keep investing in something despite evidence that suggests our earlier investment was probably wrong (Irrational escalation)
  • We only use things the way they have traditionally been used (Functional fixedness).

Now have a look at that Excel sheet again!

via Analysing data? 15 concepts from the psychologist’s couch to watch out for |

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