Bias List

Memory Biases


Bizarreness Effect

Bizarre material is better remembered than common material.


Choice-Supportive Bias

The tendency to retroactively ascribe positive attributes to an option one has selected.


Consistency Bias

Incorrectly remembering one's past attitudes and behaviour as resembling present attitudes and behaviour.


Context Effect

That cognition and memory are dependent on context, such that out-of-context memories are more difficult to retrieve than in-context memories.



A form of misattribution where a memory is mistaken for imagination, because there is no subjective experience of it being a memory.


Duration Neglect

The psychological observation that people's judgments of the unpleasantness of painful experiences depend very little on the duration of those experiences. Multiple experiments have found that these judgments tend to be affected by two factors: the peak (when the experience was the most painful) and how quickly the pain diminishes. If it diminishes more quickly, the experience is judged to be more painful.


Fading Affect Bias

A bias in which the emotion associated with unpleasant memories fades more quickly than the emotion associated with positive events.


False Memory

A form of misattribution where imagination is mistaken for a memory.


Frequency Illusion

Where a word, name or thing you just learned about suddenly appears everywhere.


Generation Effect

That self-generated information is remembered best. For instance, people are better able to recall memories of statements that they have generated than similar statements generated by others.


Google Effect

The tendency to forget information that can be found readily online by using Internet search engines.


Hindsight Bias

The inclination to see past events as being more predictable than they actually were; also called the "I-knew-it-all-along" effect.


Humor Effect

That humorous items are more easily remembered than non-humorous ones, which might be explained by the distinctiveness of humor, the increased cognitive processing time to understand the humor, or the emotional arousal caused by the humor.


Leveling and Sharpening

Leveling and sharpening are two contrasting automatic functions within our memory. Sharpening is the tendency to retroactively add vivid details in the retelling of self experienced- and retold stories. Leveling is our tendency to exclude and tone down parts of stories in memory and to fill in memory gaps.


Levels of Processing Effect

The levels-of-processing effect describes memory recall of stimuli as a function of the depth of mental processing. Deeper levels of analysis produce more elaborate, longer lasting, and stronger memory traces than shallow levels of analysis.


Mandela Effect

A colloquial name for an instance wherein a group of individuals all mis-remember the same detail or event. The effect derives its name from the fact that many people seem to have a memory of Nelson Mandela dying prior to his actual 2013 demise.


Misinformation Effect

Memory becoming less accurate because of interference from post-event information.


Modality Effect

That memory recall is higher for the last items of a list when the list items were received via speech than when they were received through writing.


Mood Congruent Memory Bias

The improved recall of information congruent with one's current mood.


Negativity Bias

Psychological phenomenon by which humans have a greater recall of unpleasant memories compared with positive memories.


Next-In-Line Effect

That a person in a group has diminished recall for the words of others who spoke immediately before himself, if they take turns speaking.


Peak-End Rule

The tendency for people judge experiences largely based on how they were at their peak (i.e., their most intense point) and at their end, rather than based on the total sum or average of every moment of the experience. It occurs regardless of whether the experience is pleasant or unpleasant.


Picture Superiority Effect

The notion that concepts that are learned by viewing pictures are more easily and frequently recalled than are concepts that are learned by viewing their written word form counterparts.


Positivity Effect

That older adults favor positive over negative information in their memories.



When someone introduced to an idea, they will more readily identify related ideas.


Reminiscence Bump

The recalling of more personal events from adolescence and early adulthood than personal events from other lifetime periods.


Rosy Retrospection

The remembering of the past as having been better than it really was.


Saliency Bias

Our tendency to focus on the most easily-recognizable features of a person or concept. Big, dramatic events, such as explosions, gun battles, and natural disasters, stick in our heads and stay there, undermining our ability to think objectively about things like causation, probabilities, and death rates.


Self Reference Effect

That memories relating to the self are better recalled than similar information relating to others.


Serial Position Effect

That items near the end of a sequence are the easiest to recall, followed by the items at the beginning of a sequence; items in the middle are the least likely to be remembered.


Source Confusion

Confusing episodic memories with other information, creating distorted memories.


Spacing Effect

That information is better recalled if exposure to it is repeated over a long span of time rather than a short one.



A form of misattribution where ideas suggested by a questioner are mistaken for memory.


Testing Effect

The fact that you more easily remember information you have read by rewriting it instead of rereading it.


Tip of The Tongue

When a subject is able to recall parts of an item, or related information, but is frustratingly unable to recall the whole item. This is thought an instance of "blocking" where multiple similar memories are being recalled and interfere with each other.


Von Restorff Effect

That an item that sticks out is more likely to be remembered than other items.


Zeigarnik Effect

That uncompleted or interrupted tasks are remembered better than completed ones.