Types of Bad Thinking Habits

Learn to avoid unwanted thinking habits.

Cover photo: @jerrysilfwer

We are all vic­tims of bad think­ing habits.

But by know­ing (and under­stand­ing) where we often make think­ing mis­takes, we increase our chances of detect­ing mis­takes before mak­ing poor decisions.

I’ve lis­ted sev­er­al of these think­ing habits so that we all can be more mind­ful and hope­fully become bet­ter thinkers.

Here we go:

Types of Bad Thinking Habits

Types of Bad Thinking Habits

Underpinning most of our think­ing mis­takes, some psy­cho­lo­gic­ally induced think­ing habits seem to affect our abil­ity to think clearly. Understanding (and avoid­ing) these beha­vi­our­al pat­terns should allow for clear thinking.

  • Biased think­ing. This involves pro­cessing inform­a­tion that aligns with pre­con­ceived notions or pref­er­ences, often dis­reg­ard­ing con­tra­dict­ory evid­ence. It can mani­fest as con­firm­a­tion bias, favour­ing inform­a­tion that con­firms exist­ing beliefs.
  • Fallacious think­ing. This encom­passes logic­ally flawed reas­on­ing. Fallacies are com­mon errors in reas­on­ing that under­mine the logic of an argument.
  • Unfocused think­ing. This refers to a lack of con­cen­tra­tion or dir­ec­tion in thought pro­cesses. It can lead to dif­fi­culties in prob­lem-solv­ing and decision-mak­ing, as thoughts may wander without reach­ing a con­clu­sion or logic­al endpoint.
  • Catastrophic think­ing. This is a cog­nit­ive dis­tor­tion where one assumes the worst will hap­pen. It often involves mag­ni­fy­ing the poten­tial con­sequences of an event, lead­ing to excess­ive worry or anxiety.
  • Wishful think­ing. This is mak­ing decisions or form­ing beliefs based on what is pleas­ing to ima­gine rather than on evid­ence, ration­al­ity, or real­ity. It often involves optim­ism bias, where one over­es­tim­ates favour­able outcomes.
  • Unsubstantiated think­ing. This involves form­ing opin­ions or beliefs without sup­port­ing evid­ence or rationale. It can res­ult from a lack of crit­ic­al think­ing, where asser­tions are accep­ted without ques­tion­ing the valid­ity of the evidence.
  • Unfinalised think­ing. This term isn’t widely recog­nized in cog­nit­ive psy­cho­logy, but it can be inter­preted as think­ing pro­cesses that are not fully developed. It might involve jump­ing to con­clu­sions without con­sid­er­ing all aspects or per­spect­ives of an issue.
  • Heuristic think­ing. This refers to using men­tal short­cuts or rules of thumb to make quick, effi­cient judg­ments. While often use­ful, these short­cuts can lead to biases and errors in judg­ment. (Examples: Overgeneralization, over­sim­pli­fic­a­tion, overste­reo­typ­ing, over­pol­ar­isa­tion, etc.).
  • Groupthink. This occurs when a group’s desire for har­mony or con­form­ity res­ults in irra­tion­al or dys­func­tion­al decision-mak­ing. Individual group mem­bers sup­press dis­sent­ing opin­ions, lead­ing to a decrease in crit­ic­al eval­u­ation of alternatives.

Understanding these dif­fer­ent types of think­ing can help identi­fy and address cog­nit­ive fal­la­cies and biases in decision-mak­ing and prob­lem-solv­ing processes.

Learn more: Types of Bad Thinking Habits

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Thanks for read­ing. Please con­sider shar­ing my pub­lic rela­tions blog with oth­er com­mu­nic­a­tion and mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sion­als. If you have ques­tions (or want to retain my PR ser­vices), please con­tact me at jerry@​spinfactory.​com.

PR Resource: More Better Thinking

PR Resource: List of Logical Fallacies and Biases

Logical Fallacies and Cognitive Biases - Doctor Spin
Logical fal­la­cies and cog­nit­ive biases.

List of Logical Fallacies and Biases

As humans, we often fall for the tricks our own psy­cho­logy plays on us. These “think­ing errors” exist because they’ve often aided our sur­viv­al. However, know­ing and under­stand­ing vari­ous types of com­mon fal­la­cies and biases is help­ful in every­day life.

Here are a few examples of logic­al fal­la­cies and biases that I’ve come across while study­ing pub­lic rela­tions and linguistics:

  • Fallacy of Composition
  • Fallacy of Division
  • The Gambler’s Fallacy
  • Tu Quoque (Who Are You To Talk?)
  • Strawman
  • Ad Hominem
  • Genetic Fallacy (Fallacy of Origin or Fallacy of Virtue)
  • Fallacious Appeal to Authority
  • Red Herring
  • Appeal to Emotion
  • Appeal to Popularity (The Bandwagon Effect)
  • Appeal to Tradition
  • Appeal to Nature
  • Appeal to Ignorance
  • Begging the Question
  • Equivocation
  • False Dichotomy (Black or White)
  • Middle Ground Fallacy
  • Decision Point Fallacy (Sorites Paradox)
  • Slippery Slope Fallacy
  • Hasty Generalisations (Anecdotal Evidence)
  • Faulty Analogy
  • Burden of Proof
  • Affirming the Consequent
  • Denying the Antecedent (Fallacy of the Inverse)
  • Moving the Goalposts
  • No True Scotsman
  • Personal Incredulity
  • False Causality
  • Texas Sharpshooter
  • Loaded Question
  • Chesterton’s Fence
  • Survivorship Bias
  • Dunning-Kruger Effect
  • Confirmation Bias
  • Heuristic Anchoring
  • Curse of Knowledge
  • Optimism/​Pessimism Bias
  • Sunk Cost Fallacy
  • Negativity Bias
  • Declinism
  • Backfire Effect (Conversion Theory)
  • Fundamental Attribution Error
  • In-Group Bias
  • Forer Effect (Barnum Effect)
  • Cognitive Dissonance
  • Hostile Media Effect
  • Cherry-Picking (The Fallacy of Incomplete Evidence)
  • Spiral of Silence
  • Yes Ladder
  • Bystander Effect
  • Reciprocation Effect
  • Commitment and Consistency
  • Fallacy of Social Proof
  • Liking and Likeness
  • Appeal to Authority
  • Principle of Scarcity (FOMO)
  • Loss Aversion

Learn more: 58 Logical Fallacies and Biases

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Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwerhttps://doctorspin.net/
Jerry Silfwer, alias Doctor Spin, is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Currently CEO at Spin Factory and KIX Communication Index. Before that, he worked at Kaufmann, Whispr Group, Springtime PR, and Spotlight PR. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.

The Cover Photo

The cover photo isn't related to public relations; it's just a photo of mine. Think of it as a 'decorative diversion', a subtle reminder that there is more to life than strategic communication.

The cover photo has


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