50 Common Cognitive Distortions

Cognitive DistortionsI’ve just seen this useful article Psychology Today. Dr Alicve Boyle outlines 50 ways that our thinking might be distorted. I recognise some in myself, do you recognise any yourself?

1. Personalizing.
2. Mindreading. Guessing what someone else is thinking, when they may not be thinking that.
3. Negative predictions.
4. Underestimating coping ability.
5. Catastrophizing.
6. Biased attention toward signs of social rejection, and lack of attention to signs of social acceptance.
7. Negatively biased recall of social encounters.
8. Thinking an absence of effusiveness means something is wrong.
9. Unrelenting standards.
10. Entitlement beliefs.
11. Justification and moral licensing.
12. Belief in a just world.
13. Seeing a situation only from your own perspective.
14. Belief that self-criticism is an effective way to motivate yourself toward better future behavior.
15. Recognizing feelings as causes of behavior, but not equally attending to how behavior influences thoughts and feelings.
16. All or nothing thinking.
17. Shoulds and musts.
18. Using feelings as the basis of a judgment, when the objective evidence does not support your feelings.
19. Basing future decisions on “sunk costs.”
20. Delusions.
21. Assuming your current feelings will stay the same in the future.
22. Cognitive labeling.
23. The Halo Effect.
24. Minimizing.
25. Magnifying (Cognitively Exaggerating).
26. Cognitive conformity.
27. Overgeneralizing
28. Blaming others.
29. Falling victim to the “Foot in the Door” technique.
30. Falling victim to the “Door in the Face” technique.
31. Focusing on the amount saved rather than the amount spent.
32. Overvaluing things because they’re yours.
33. Failure to consider alternative explanations.
34. The Self-Serving Bias
35. Attributing strangers’ behavior to their character and not considering situational/contextual factors.
36. Failure to consider opportunity cost.
37. Assumed similarity.
38. In-group bias.
39. “You don’t know what you don’t know.”
40. The tendency to underestimate how long tasks will take.
41. The belief that worry and overthinking will lead to problem solving insights.42. Biased implicit attitudes.
43. The Peak-End Rule.
44. The tendency to prefer familiar things.
45. The belief you can multi-task.
46. Failure to recognize the cognitive benefits of restorative activities and activities that increase positive emotions.
47. Positively biased predictions.
48. Cheating on your goals based on positive behaviors you plan to do later.
49. Repeating the same behavior and expecting different results (or thinking that doubling-down on a failed strategy will start to produce positive results).
50. “I can’t change my behavior.” (or “I can’t change my thinking style.”)

September 14, 2013Permalink Leave a comment

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