My Cognitive Bias – Why we built this extension


A few years ago I became aware of Cognitive Biases, I have since noticed them everywhere but most importantly, I believe that being aware of my biases, greatly helps me overcome them. This has had a huge impact on various aspects of my life, from how I do my food shopping to my career choices.

This BBC article sums Cognitive Biases up perfectly:

Our thinking is riddled with systematic mistakes known to psychologists as cognitive biases. And they affect everything we do. They make us spend impulsively, be overly influenced by what other people think. They affect our beliefs, our opinions, and our decisions, and we have no idea it is happening.

I am unsure when I first heard about Cognitive Biases but it must have been through reading books from authors like Dan Ariely (his Are we in control of our own decisions? TED talk below is a must watch), Richard Thaler, Daniel Kahneman, Amost Tversky and most recently people like Avinash Kaushik who shares some interesting opinions on biases in the work environment and marketing in his newsletter.

While I started seeing biases everywhere, I have always had a hard time remembering which one was which. I was immensely happy when I came across this Cognitive Bias Codex print from DesignHacks. Sadly, I don’t have a home office and was unable to find a place in the house to do it justice. I am yet to buy one but I loved the idea of seeing Cognitive Bias reminders constantly and it got me thinking of ways to achieve that.

Cognitive Bias Codex print
Image source: Cognitive Bias Codex print on DesignHacks.co

A random Cognitive Bias definition every time you open a New Tab

My wife became interested in cognitive biases in decision making and we were exploring projects to work on together.

We agreed that building a browser extension to display examples of biases and their definitions would be an interesting project. A browser extension, we thought, is a great way to display a new example of cognitive bias every time we open a new tab so we went ahead and built it. I built this website and worked on the browser extension since I am more technical while my wife diligently did all the research and compiled the list of cognitive biases. This list might not be complete and we’re always looking for new ones to add. We do not claim to be Cognitive Bias experts and we mostly get the definitions from Wikipedia and we always link to the source; we thought that this is a fairer way of doing this, rather than creating mediocre content on this site and take the credit for someone else’s work. If enough people will use the extension and will find it valuable, we’ll spend more time on it and maybe add examples of the most common biases we meet either in our personal lives or in the media.

We’d love to explore this further and expand the list of most common cognitive biases but wanted to start somewhere and so we got version 1 out there. We’d love to hear what you think of it and how you’d like us to make this better.