Making Good Decisions – Cognitive Biases and Logical Fallacies


The I Am Group's Blog

By Tony Koutsoumbos, Fundraising Specialist for the I Am GroupThinking,_Fast_and_Slow

Last night I delivered a talk on the impact of cognitive biases on decision making and the logical fallacies that turn faulty assumptions into false conclusions. Below is a summary of the key points and – more importantly – a list of the most common biases and fallacies.

In a nutshell:

The ability to think quickly is a prized asset in a demanding job, yet it can lead to bad decisions by embedding flawed assumptions in our system of thinking. However, by scrutinising the link between these assumptions and the conclusions they lead us to, we can prevent this from happening.

Fast Thinking v Slow Thinking:

In his 2011 book, Thinking Fast and Slow, Nobel Prize winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman argues that humans have two different systems of thinking: the intuitive system and the logical system. The intuitive system is fast and…

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57 – Some types of thinking observed in local government.


Local Government Utopia

Posted by Whistler                                                                          580 words

ant on leaf

Image from

Convenient thinking. I think this is a preferred way of thinking for many people. It is the easiest. What is the quickest way to deal with this matter? Is there someone else who should be doing it? What is likely to have the least impact on me? Once you start asking these questions, you are well on the way to some convenient thinking. It is most problematic when senior management regularly engage in convenient thinking.

Consequential thinking. This is related to convenient thinking but is more focussed on the possible outcomes from doing something. What could go wrong? Who could be upset? Will it move my career forward? The high level of risk awareness in local government encourages consequential thinking. It isn’t necessarily a problem unless you identify so many possible consequences that it becomes a…

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Metacognition: awareness of what one does and doesn’t know – improve the quality of teaching in adult education


Improving Vocational Education and Training

Guided reading

Authors: The Teaching Excellence in Adult Literacy (TEAL)  Center staff, Reviewed by: David Scanlon, Boston College,

About the TEAL Center: The Teaching Excellence in Adult Literacy (TEAL) Center is a project of the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE), designed to improve the quality of teaching in adult education in the content areas.

meta       learning

What Is Metacognition?

Metacognition refers to awareness of one’s own knowledge—what one does and doesn’t know—and one’s ability to understand, control, and manipulate one’s cognitive processes (Meichenbaum, 1985). It includes knowing when and where to use particular strategies for learning and problem solving as well as how and why to use specific strategies. Metacognition is the ability to use prior knowledge to plan a strategy for approaching a learning task, take necessary steps to problem solve, reflect on and evaluate results, and modify one’s approach…

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Why teaching cursive still matters


I think researchers interested in embodied cognition, musculature-based memory, and other topics could contribute to the advocacy of handwriting, hand note-taking.

Library musings

The gig is up — children should still be learning cursive in schools. According to an article written last June in the New York Times by Maria Konnikova, children that formed letters in their own handwriting vs. typing or tracing them show connections to broader educational development. In other words, “it’s not just what we write that matters — but how.” Studies are showing that children who write by hand learn to read faster, show an increased vocabulary, and retain what they learn better. “There is a core recognition of the gesture in the written word, a sort of recognition by mental simulation in your brain,” says Stanislas Dehaene, a psychologist at the Collège de France in Paris. To me, it’s kind of like a body memory when you train for something over and over; in a stressful situation, your body knows how to react faster than your…

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Critical thinking


I’m glad someone else is noticing this troubling and risky trend in our society.

Q Logic

There’s simply nothing you should just accept at face value. You should always do your own homework.

Critical thinkers rarely take something they read or hear as fact. Critical thinkers will seek out other perspectives. The reflex action of a critical thinker is to assume there’s another side to whatever story they’re told.

What alarms me is how often you see people take a premise at face value with no questions.

There was a time in the late 60s and early 70s when the phrase “question authority” was a well-known and popular refrain.

Fast forward to 2015, and we’re getting emails from the current administration’s “Truth Team.” (The official organization is the “Organizing for Action Truth Team.”)

As a marketer, I would have cautioned any politician from having a self-described “truth team.” It just screams 1984 and Russian and German propaganda, to me.

But what really rubs me the wrong way about…

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We will usually pick anecdotal stories and narrative over data and evidence


We should be aware of this cognitive bias and make sure to review storytelling with the same rigor as data and evidence.

Facts about Religion

storytelling-bainLet me tell you a story. Today during lunch I did what I always do, I read an article by people who are supposed to be much smarter than I am. Surprisingly what I read explained my interactions with other people, especially when it comes to their disdain for data and preference for personal stories.

As I processed this article, I began to realize that there is a biological reason for why we prefer to believe the anecdotes our friends tell rather than cold, hard, facts. It turns out we humans are hardwired to prefer narrative.

Apparently a bunch of really smart scientist-people at Emory University did some tests and they discovered that hearing a story releases a chemical called oxytocin (don’t get excited, that’s different than oxycodone) and as it happens, this is the chemical released by breastfeeding mothers that illicits bonding.

“Paul Zak, director of the Center…

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Structure in Threes: Business Design and Reengineering


From the blog: Brian’s Blog

Brian's Blog

The last round of brainstorming tightened up my thinking around the methodology.  Like all engineering endeavors I needed to identify the beginning point for creating the enterprise.  Most of the business model approaches are just that.  They document the existing and while that is necessary, is that sufficient?  When I’ve attended workshops focused on business models, often it ends up around optimization rather than innovation.  The strategy and planning methodology I devised and fielded for other corporations was purposely limited, because at that time these corporation’s business models were deemed untouchable.  Even though several people could see its useful life was coming to an end.  Secondly, reengineering a business model it difficult for most in management positions…their mentality is around optimizing the status quo.  Not a blame, it how they were successful and how they are managed in most corporations today.

The brainstorm I had the other day was along the lines I…

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