The Irrational User

Alvin Hsia breaks down some of the most popular cognitive biases and how they can play into product development:

Cognitive biases arise when a mental shortcut generates an incomplete or inaccurate judgement.

He references Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow, which I would highly recommend. Things like loss aversion and negativity bias (he covers both)are important to think about in terms of user experience.

Pairs well with an old post I wrote: How to use science to make better decisions

How to Make Better Decisions Based on Science

This post was originally written for the Crew blog.


Unless you’re a cyborg, you couldn’t help but think of the number “4″ when you saw the above expression. In the same way, the partial phrase “bread and” leaves you with the word “butter” on the tip of your tongue. That’s no accident.

Our brains make thousands of decisions every day. Many of them (like whether you want cream and sugar in your coffee) seem to be automatic. Others (like where you want to go for dinner) can be a bit more taxing and require mental effort.

Research has identified two seemingly separate “systems” of the brain responsible for decision-making. In order to make better decisions, we need to understand what each of these systems is responsible for and how we can shift from one to the other.

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