simplyenjoy


Simple List: Common Cognitive Distortions

In Practice

Putting social psychology to work for you
by Alice Boyes, Ph.D.
A giant list of ubiquitous cognitive distortions.
Published on January 17, 2013 by Alice Boyes, Ph.D. in In Practice
Cognitive Distortions

Cognitive Distortions

Becoming mindful of these common cognitive distortions will help you understand yourself and other people better, and improve your decision making.

1. Personalizing.

Taking something personally that may not be personal. Seeing events as consequences of your actions when there are other possibilities. For example, believing someone’s brusque tone must be because they’re irritated with you. (Tips for not personalizing.)

2. Mind-readingGuessing what someone else is thinking, when they may not be thinking that.

3. Negative predictions.

Overestimating the likelihood that an action will have a negative outcome.

4. Underestimating coping ability.

Underestimating your ability cope with negative events.

5. Catastrophizing.

Thinking of unpleasant events as catastrophes.

6. Biased attention toward signs of social rejection, and lack of attention to signs of social acceptance.

For example, during social interactions, paying attention to someone yawning but not paying the same degree of attention to other cues that suggest they are interested in what you’re saying (such as them leaning in).

7. Negatively biased recall of social encounters.

Remembering negatives from a social situation and not remembering positives. For example, remembering losing your place for a few seconds while giving a talk but not remembering the huge clap you got at the end.

8. Thinking an absence of effusiveness means something is wrong.

Believing an absence of a smiley-face in an email means someone is mad at you. Or, interpreting “You did a good job” as negative if you were expecting “You did a great job.”

9. Unrelenting standards.

The belief that achieving unrelentingly high standards is necessary to avoid a catastrophe. For example, the belief that making any mistakes will lead to your colleagues thinking you’re useless.

10. Entitlement beliefs.

Believing the same rules that apply to others should not apply to you. For example, believing you shouldn’t need to do an internship even if that is the normal path to employment in your industry.

11. Justification and moral licensing.

For example, I’ve made progress toward my goal and therefore it’s ok if I act in a way that is inconsistent with it.

12. Belief in a just world.

For example, believing that poor people must deserve to be poor.

13. Seeing a situation only from your own perspective.

For example, failing to look at a topic of relationship tension from your partner’s perspective.

14. Belief that self-criticism is an effective way to motivate yourself toward better future behavior.

It’s not.

15. Recognizing feelings as causes of behavior, but not equally attending to how behavior influences thoughts and feelings.

For example, you think “When I have more energy, I’ll exercise” but not “Exercising will give me more energy.”

16. All or nothing thinking.

e.g., “If I don’t always get As, I’m a complete failure.”

17. Shoulds and musts.

For example, “I should always give 100%.” Sometimes there are no important benefits of doing a task beyond a basic acceptable level.

18. Using feelings as the basis of a judgment, when the objective evidence does not support your feelings.

e.g., “I don’t feel clean, even though I’ve washed my hands three times. Therefore I should wash my again.” (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder example).

19. Basing future decisions on “sunk costs.”

e.g., investing more money in a business that is losing money because you’ve invested so much already.

http://www.30traveler.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/sunset-punakaiki.jpg

20. Delusions.

Holding a fixed, false belief despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. For example, believing global warming doesn’t exist. Or, believing you’re overweight when you’re 85lbs.

21. Assuming your current feelings will stay the same in the future.

For example, “I feel unable to cope today, and therefore I will feel unable to cope tomorrow.”

22. Cognitive labeling.

For example, mentally labeling your sister’s boyfriend as a “loser” and not being open to subsequent evidence suggesting he isn’t a loser.

23. The Halo Effect.

For example, perceiving high calories foods as lower in calories if they’re accompanied by a salad.

24. Minimizing.

e.g., “Yes I won an important award but that still doesn’t really mean I’m accomplished in my field.”

25. Magnifying (Cognitively Exaggerating).

For example, blowing your own mistakes and flaws out of proportion and perceiving them as more significant than they are.

Making a mountain out of a molehill, but not quite to the same extent as catastrophizing.

26. Cognitive conformity.

Seeing things the way people around you view them. Research has shown that this often happens at an unconscious level. See the Asch experiment. (video)

27. Overgeneralizing

Generalizing a belief that may have validity in some situations (such as “If you want something done well, you should do it yourself.”) to every situation. This is a type of lack of psychological flexibility.

28. Blaming others.

29. Falling victim to the “Foot in the Door” technique.

When someone makes a small request to get a “Yes” answer, then follows up with a bigger request, people are more likely to agree to the big request than if only that request had been made.

30. Falling victim to the “Door in the Face” technique.

When someone makes an outlandish request first, then makes a smaller request, the initial outlandish request makes the smaller request seem more reasonable.

31. Focusing on the amount saved rather than the amount spent.

e.g, Focusing on the amount of a discount rather than on whether you’d buy the item that day at the sale price if it wasn’t listed as on sale.

32. Overvaluing things because they’re yours.

e.g., perceiving your baby as more attractive or smart than they really are because they’re yours.

Or, overestimating the value of your home when you put it on the market for sale because you overestimate the added value of renovations you’ve made.

33. Failure to consider alternative explanations.

Coming up with one explanation for why something has happened/happens and failing to consider alternative, more likely explanations.

34. The Self-Serving Bias The self-serving bias is people’s tendency to attribute positive events to their own character but attribute negative events to external factors. (Tips for overcoming the self-serving bias.)

Cognitive Distortions

Cognitive Distortions

35. Attributing strangers’ behavior to their character and not considering situational/contextual factors. 36. Failure to consider opportunity cost.

For example, spending an hour doing a low ROI task and thinking “it’s only an hour” and not considering the lost potential of spending that hour doing a high ROI task.

37. Assumed similarity.

The tendency to assume other people hold similar attitudes to your own.

38. In-group bias.

The tendency to trust and value people who are like you, or who are in your circle, more than people from different backgrounds.

39. “You don’t know what you don’t know.”

Getting external feedback can help you become aware of things you didn’t even know that you didn’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.

In fact, overthinking tends to impair problem solving ability and leads to avoidance coping.

42. Biased implicit attitudes. Psychologists use a test called the implicit association test to measure attitudes that people subconsciously hold. Results show people subconsciously associate fat with lazy etc.

It’s useful to be mindful that you may subsciously hold biased attitudes, then you can consciously correct for them.

43. The Peak-End Rule.

The tendency to most strongly remember (1) how you felt at the end of an experience, and (2) how you felt at the moment of peak emotional intensity during the experience. Biasedmemories can lead to biased future decision making.

44. The tendency to prefer familiar things.

Familiarity breeds liking, which is part of why people are brand loyal and may pay inflated prices for familiar brands vs. switching.

45. The belief you can multi-task.When you’re multi-tasking you’re actually task (and attention) shifting. Trying to focus on more than one goal at a time is self-sabotage.

46. Failure to recognize the cognitive benefits of restorative activitIes and activities that increase positive emotions.

For example, seeing humor or breaks as a waste of time.

47. Positively biased predictions.

For example, expecting that if you sign up to a one year gym membership you will go, if this hasn’t been the case in the past.

48. Cheating on your goals based on positive behaviors you plan to do later.

For example, overeating today if you expect you’ll be starting a diet next week. Often the planned positive behaviors don’t happen.

49. Repeating the same behavior and expecting different results (or thinking that doubling-down on a failed strategy will start to produce positive results). 

For example, expecting that if you nag more, your partner will change.

50. “I can’t change my behavior.” (or “I can’t change my thinking style.”)

Instead of telling yourself “I can’t,” try asking yourself how you could shift your behavior (or thinking style) by 5%.

How to Become Mindful of Your Cognitive Distortions?

Try printing this article and highlighting the cognitive distortions you think apply to you. I suggest you then pick one cognitive distortion at a time and keep a running list for a week of how that cognitive distortion manifests in your life.

Dr Alice Boyes

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In verdure.

“To sit in the shade

on a fine day

and look upon verdure

is the most perfect refreshment.”

– Jane Austen –

jane(courtest of google images.)



In the quiet.

“Now arise, Lord God, and come to your resting place, you and the ark of your might. May your priests, Lord God, be clothed with salvation, may your faithful people rejoice in your goodness.” 2 Chronicles 6: 41

WordPress has some very inspiring writers. It’s so much fun to receive new alerts and posts and see what everyone is sharing next. I’m grateful for this space to share musings, poetry and mental healthcare information. For me, this place is about community and connecting, but it’s also about helping myself understand and express the  journey of life. I write a whole lot better than I speak. I can’t convey the same things in person as I can through a keyboard.

For me, words are little chunks of communication that sit on the page and beg for eyes. I’m here. Read me. I’m calm and quiet. These words don’t move. These words don’t stutter. These words don’t mumble or turn away from you.

I realize lately my posts have taken on a more spiritual theme and I want to offer more frequent clinical and scientific posts on mental healthcare, behavioral change/modification and minimalist organization, as this is the theme of this blog; to simply enjoy life and work at creating better balance, space and simplicity. Stay tuned for more of that.

Today is my birthday and I slept on the sofa last night. (My hubby’s away for work.) I woke up very peaceful because I had an awful dream and when I realized it wasn’t real I was so thankful. Then my thoughts go to my parents. I can’t help but think of my parents on my birthday because they’re the reason why I’m here.

I’m sure all can relate to family member’s having a designated seat in the home – dad’s recliner, grandma’s rocking chair, etc. Well, today I’m thinking about my lovely mother who perches on “her sofa” when she wants to sit. She gazes out the front window, watching the bird feeders and drinking her coffee. This is her “living room” and it’s her domain. There is no TV. Never any music. There is only silence and reflection. There is only peace and quiet.

My mom and I are different in that I am still learning the art of sitting still in the quiet. I am so high-energy it is often difficult for me to settle all my ways until they are gathered and at ease in the Lord. I know my mother’s sitting and the graceful way she rests is a reflection of her age and experiences. I am grateful that my mom has always helped me learn how to “rest” and her continuous prayers have been in protection for her children to find escape from the very real worldly stresses, commotion and noise.

Today I am in the living room. I am sitting still. I rest.

Stitched Panorama

 

(Courtesy of google images.)

“Give me the benefit of your convictions if you have any,

but keep your doubts to yourself, for I have enough of my own.”

– Goethe –



Ageism… a hidden bias?

“You are as young

as your faith,

as old as

your doubts,

as young as

your self-confidence,

as old as

your fear;

as young as

your hope,

as old as

your despair.”

– Douglas MacArthur

abuelamia

A favorite photo from 2009: Grandma Mia and Jaydan, her youngest grandson (at the time – now there are more!) 

Buena Vista, Costa Rica

There’s a lot of talk about the evils of sexism, racism and ethnic bigotry. Ageism exists also, but is often more subtle to detect in our dealings with others.

Have you ever been discriminated against or misjudged because of your age?

Have you ever misjudged someone because of their age?

Ageism, or age discrimination is stereotyping and discriminating against individuals or groups because of their age. It is a set of beliefs, attitudes, norms, and values used to justify age-based prejudice, discrimination, and subordination. This may be casual or systematic. The term was coined in 1969 by Robert Neil Butler to describe discrimination against seniors, and patterned on sexism and racism. Butler defined Ageism as a combination of three connected elements. Among them were prejudicial attitudes towards older people, old age, and the aging process; discriminatory practices against older people; and institutional practices and policies that perpetuate stereotypes about older people. The term has also been used to describe prejudice and discrimination against adolescents and children, including ignoring their ideas because they are too young, or assuming that they should behave in certain ways because of their age.

yogi

(Courtesy of Google images.)

83-year-old Australian yoga teacher, Bette Calman teaches 11 classes a week.

Moshe Kai Cavalin enrolled in college at East Los Angeles College at age eight, graduating in 2009 with an impressive 4.0 GPA and full honors. As for his career post-college, Moshe isn’t rushing anything. He decided to take a year off to rest, learn to scuba dive, write a book and hone his already sharp martial arts skills. He plans to return to school to complete a degree in astrophysics, but with a Bachelor’s under his belt at 11, he’s in no hurry.

Apart from accomplishments, awards, accolades or resume skills, other things we can’t see about another person are their experiences, perceptions and feelings, making judgement (anytime) a misplaced action.

Don’t let anyone look down on you

because you are young,

but set an example for the believers in speech,

in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

1 Timothy 4:12

DSCF9432

Me at Cape Cod National Seashore, MA

DSCF9435

*Nick*

“A man may stand there and put all America behind him.”

Henry David Thoreau

For contributions to the national park service click HERE.

2 Peter 3-11  His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 

For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election.



Root support.
March 11, 2013, 1:39 pm
Filed under: Behavior, Brain, Mind, Minimalism, Motivation, Poetry, Spirit, Writing | Tags: , ,

image

Consider this…

You do not support the root,

But the root supports you.

image



Seeds of faith.

057

 

 

(Flower on the Arenal Volcano in La Fortuna, Costa Rica – 2011)

 

“I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed… Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Jesus in Matthew 17:20)




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