7 Attention Biases that are killing your observation skills


If you feel your observation is lacking, blame these biases.

By Aditya Shukla, Psychologist

We fail to notice unexpected but significant stimuli in our environment.


Inattentional bias

E.g., An odd shop has suddenly appeared in your neighborhood 2 weeks ago and you didn't notice it.

We miss to notice gradual and sudden changes in our surrounding in the blink of an eye.


Change blindness

E.g., You were hanging out and little by little the clouds appeared and you notice its now overcast from a sunny afternoon.

We fail to acknowledge the failure stories who do exactly what the success stories say.


Survivorship bias

E.g., you follow the habits of successful people but fail to see that unsuccessful people also had those habits.

We are more likely to notice negative details first and remember them longer, missing positive details.


Negativity bias

E.g., you scroll on Instagram and realize the world is full of sorrow because that's all you notice.

We start to notice something more often after we first learn of it. And then conclude it actually occurs more often than it does.


Frequency Illusion

E.g., you start noticing the car you desire on the road more often now that you are interested in it.

We remember the last moments of an experience and the highs or lows, but forget the boring mundane moments that generally determine our overall experience.


Peak-end rule

E.g., You recall only the highlights of your trip and not the boring travel experience.

When you notice, you are likely to forget what you noticed but you remember where you noticed it.


Google Effect

E.g., you walk past a street with a shop you want to visit later, but you can't remember the name, just the location.

Next: How to overcome cognitive biases

By Aditya Shukla, Psychologist and founder (Cognition Today)