004: Thinking Traps (Part 1) — Thinking in Extremes

We’re looking here at the most common Thinking Traps, especially the ones that cause mental distress. 

Cognitive Distortions vs. Cognitive Biases

The difference between Thinking Traps (Cognitive Distortions) and Thinking Errors (Cognitive Biases) is that Thinking Traps result in difficult emotions, in mental distress, and in psychopathology. Cognitive Biases are more broadly related to an inaccurate perception of reality. Some examples of Cognitive Biases are the Availability Heuristic, the Empathy Gap, Anchoring.

The Cognitive Bias Codex on DesignHacks.co

Thinking Traps: Thinking in Extremes

  1. Black-and-White Thinking (also: Polarized Thinking, All-or-Nothing Thinking, Splitting, Dichotomous Reasoning);
  2. Overgeneralization;
  3. Mental Filter (also: Filtering, Selective Abstraction);
  4. Discounting the Positive (also: Disqualifying the Positive); and,
  5. Magnification (also: Awfulizing, Catastrophizing)


  1. Thinking in Shades of Gray
  2. Examine the Evidence
  3. Externalization of Voices
  4. Double-Standard Technique
  5. Semantic Method

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