Avoiding the Conjunction Fallacy


I’m about to make you smarter.

But first answer this:

Which is more likely?

A. You only using TikTok for 5 minutes next week

B. Your phone breaking and you only using TikTok for 5 minutes next week

If you said B, you just fell for the Conjuction Fallacy–a cognitive bias. But it’s not your fault. Cognitive biases are ways in which our brains evolved to be irrational, but we can train ourselves to recognize and overcome them.

With this one, There are two ways to start: First, always ask “am I confusing the PROBABLE with the PLAUSIBLE” You using tiktok for only 5 minutes is highly unlikely. Because you’re addicted. But Onea way it might make sense is if you broke your phone, so your mind jumps on that as being more PLAUSIBLE. Instead, look at each part separately in your mind before combining them.

If this is all that could happen to you next week, this is your tiny tiktok use. Very unlikely. But your phone breaking is still only one of many potential reasons. Maybe the tiktok servers will explode. B is fully included in A, so can’t be more likely.

The second way is tough but simple: start thinking about thinking. Studies have shown that the more you enjoy analytical thinking, the less susceptible you’ll be to the sorts of biases. So follow for more!