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05 September 2016

Cognitive Biases Abound

In a not-so-recent Scrap Gals Podcast, I learned about cognitive biases.  Well, not just me, all of Tiffany and Tracie’s listeners did.  I should clarify that it is not just me because tending to place too much emphasis on one’s self in relationship to a crowd is a bias called the Spotlight Effect bias. (Oh girl, this is gonna get deep!)

One bias that we can all identify readily is the Frequency Illusion.  It can be described as the illusion in which a word, a name, or other thing that has recently come to one's attention suddenly seems to appear with improbable frequency shortly afterwards.  You know, like when you buy a new car then you notice how very many of that same brand and color are on the road too.

I have a perfect recent example.  Since hubby and I have started hunting down barn quilt squares, we have noticed barns everywhere:

like on the most recent issue of Evansville Living magazine and on our church bulletin:


When I have not been appreciating barns, I have been working on old projects.  I was guilty of the Ostrich Effect which is ignoring an obvious (negative) situation. Said situation would be various projects which I had buried deep in the sand in the cabinets of my studio.  This old Stampin Up card kit didn’t take long to put together, so why did it take me so long to work on it.  It was not because I did not buy the stamp set it suggested with the kit, because I was able to find two virgin stamp sets to use with it.  Unused stamp sets are also ignored by this scrappy ostrich – well, until lately.


Here’s my favorite variation of the card.  And don’t think that this is the last unopened card kit I have here in my Saharan studio.

What I no longer have is the make ‘n take kit I bought when I was a Stampin Up demonstator (circa 2007) and never used for my customers.  Here’s one example of a mini photo album I just finished.  I simplified the example and made up several of them until I got bored.  Then I made a few cards, added some of the pretty scraps to my bin and recycled the rest. 


I am definitely feeling some momentum in my quest to address unused kits, half done classes and new but untouched supplies around here.  In fact, I would like to think that I could have them all addressed by the end of the year.  But . . . that would then fall under another cognitive bias.

The Positive Outcome bias is the tendency to be over-optimistic, overestimating favorable and pleasing outcomes.  Yes, good old-fashioned wishful thinking which might be derailed by the Planning Fallacy bias, that is, the tendency to underestimate task-completion times.

So in order not to sound too completely psychological (yes, psycho for short), let’s just see how it goes from here on out.  Shall we?

If you want a handy dandy list of cognitive biases, check out Wikipedia here.


  1. You are starting to sound like my daughter. That would be the one about to begin the Psychology degree..

  2. Love what you created!! The yellow is fabulous with those papers!!

  3. Funny! I always love how you take an idea and run wth it! Your projects here are super cute. I have to admit to one or two unfinished things but really, less than 5 I'd guess and maybe another couple of layouts. But that doesn't mean that I don't new stash that needs to be used up and older stash that should be sorted and recycled. In fact, I'm off to do some of that right now!

  4. I keep telling myself to get my old things finished and out the door! I need to follow your example!! LOVING these! GORGEOUS!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. I did chuckle out loud about your declared overly optimistic plans. I truly know those same plans & idea especially with the idea to use what I have in the stash.

  6. Ugh...I am bad with those unfinished projects and pages...more often than not I just bin it. Love the way you plan your card making.

  7. What a FUN post to read. You've certainly been productive using some of those old kits.

    I'm sorting EVERYTHING as I move into my new space! I can hardly wait to get started creating now that I've been going through all these FUN supplies. :)