Concepts for Your Cognitive Toolkit

Beware what you wish for

Biases
Affect heuristic
Attribution Substitution
Apophenia
Approach/avoid
Ambiguity avoidance/effect (variance avoidance)
Hard work avoidance
Low-status avoidance
Halo effect/affiliation
Availability heuristic
Focusing effect
Fundamental attribution error (braitenberg vehicles)
Introspection illusion
Narrative bias
Neurodiversity (typical mind fallacy)
Nominal fallacy
Representativeness heuristic
Scope insensitivity
Semmelweis effect
Sunk costs
Survivorship bias
Status quo/absurdity
Selection effects
Confirmation bias
Base rate neglect
Proximity bias
Temporal sensitivity
Incoherent discount rate
Geographic sensitivity

Data biases
Misweight because came first
Misweight because familiar
Misweight because simpler
Misweight because of source

Momentum vs lightness
Bias gradients
Show vs Is
Be vs Do
Us vs Them
Now vs later
Talk vs Bet
Prestige vs Results
Endorse vs Record evals
Diversify vs Focus
Clump vs Spread
Participate vs Support
Dramatic vs Marginal

Hindsight and prehindsight
Identity-Consistency

Business analysis concepts
Bottleneck (Theory of Constraints)
Prerequisite tree
Critical path
Diffusion of innovation
Gartner hype cycle
Key Uncertainties
Market segmentation
Moat
Network effects
Proxy measure ratios
Scenario planning (matrices)

Communication concepts
Affordance
Ask-guess-tell culture
“Because”
Body language energy
Open vs closed posture, taking up space
Check-in
Common knowledge
Denotation and Connotation
Dominance, communality, or reciprocity relationships
Framing/Reframing

Love languages
Service
Touch
Words of affirmation
Gifts
Quality time

Mean world syndrome
Non-violent communication
Pointing at the moon
Straussian reading

Dual process theories
Back chaining vs forward chaining
Effectuation
Deduction vs induction
Farmer vs forager
Fox vs hedgehog
Near vs far
Open vs closed modes
Exploration neglect
System 1 vs system 2
Systems vs goal
Zero vs positive sum thinking

Economic concepts
80:20 rule, low hanging fruit
Ammortization
Arbitrage
Comparative advantage
Critical thresholds in nonlinear systems
Efficient markets
Elasticity
Externalities
Frictional costs
Information asymmetry
Marginal Thinking
Diminishing returns
Increasing returns
Moral hazard
Net present value
Opportunity cost
Pareto improvement
Path dependence
Principal agent problem/Lost purposes
Production-possibility frontier
Key trade-off analysis (synthesis of form)
Regression to the mean
Risk tolerance
Stated and revealed preference
Time/money value of time/money
Tragedy of the commons
Variance

Epistemic concepts
A priori, a posteriori
Counterfactual simulations
Epistemological rigor->methodological rigor (expert on experts)
Essentialism
Evidence/update proportionality
Fully general counterargument
Kayfabe
Leaky abstraction
Levels of abstraction
Moral uncertainty
Moral trade
Natural kind (cutting at the joints)
Ontological crisis
Positive vs normative
Post hoc ergo propter hoc
Rationalism/empircisim
Reference class forecasting (Inside view/outside view)
Regression to the mean
Universal prior (epistemic luck)
Upstream/downstream
Wastebasket taxon

Evolutionary psychology concepts
Adaptation executor not fitness maximizer
Dunbar’s number
Handicap principle
Moloch
r/K selection
Red queen

Game theory concepts
Expected value
Free riders
Nash equilibrium
Precommitment
Prisoner’s Dilemma
Habit formation concepts
Affordance (brain shaped, overlearning)
CAR model
Fragile vs antifragile (hormesis)

Math concepts
Derivatives
Graphs
Breadth vs depth first search
Degree
Directed graph
Weighted edges
Over/underdetermined
State machine

Optimal brainstorming
Internal censor
OODA loop
Premature decisions
Premature sharing

Permuting concepts
Inversion
Locked vs unlocked dials
Locked to each other (unblending variables)
Redescribing to self or others (rubber ducking)
Separation and recombination (both append and insert)
Structured entropy injection

Political concepts
Arrow’s impossibility
Median voter theorem
Overton window
Public choice theory
Realpolitik

Programming concepts
Best/worst/average case
Causal graph
Functional programming (mental heuristics)
Greedy algorithm
Inner loop/outer loop
Parallelization
Type error

Psychotherapy concepts
Archetype
Big five personality traits
Cognitive behavioral therapy
Internal family systems
Justifiability
Liking vs wanting
Locus of control
Medicalization (deprivation of agency)
Moral Foundations theory
Subject object distinction
Superstimulus
Workbooks

Rationality concepts
5 second skills
Aether variables
Attribution substitution
Brainstorming questions/problems rather than answers
Calibrated scaffolding (i.e build as much scaffolding as necessary and no more)
Chesterton fence
Cognitive dissonance avoidance
Impression management
Confabulation
CoZE
Dependency hell (goal or aversion factoring)
Endorse on reflection
Exploration neglect
Schlep blindness
Low status blindness
High variance blindness
Focused grit
Holding off on solutions
Increasing marginal utility of attention (monkey mind)
Inner simulator
Instrumental/terminal values
Making beliefs load bearing
Napkin math
Offline training
Proving too much (non-falsifiability)
Schelling fence
Self-signaling/self trust
Signaling/Countersignaling/Meta Contrarianism
Stealing cheat codes (opposite of not invented here)
Straw/steelman
System 1 can’t do math
Taboo words
TDT
Trivial inconvenience
Ugh fields
Urge propogation
Valley of bad X (tends towards hedgehogging)
Value of Information (xkcd chart)

Self Help/Motivation concepts
Can’t bullshit yourself
Carrot and stick
Decision fatigue (microdecisions)
Deliberate practice
Feedback loop tightness
Hamming question
Lowering cognitive overhead (trivial inconveniences)
Mental contrasting
Moral licensing
Motivation equation
Next action
Pomodoro distraction log
Power-law world vs Normal world
Self care
Stoicism
Control Calibration
Daily Plan
Daily Review
Meditation
Negative visualization
Self Denial
Trigger Action Plan
Zeigarnik effect

Statistics concepts
Common distributions (bimodal, normal, log-normal, power law, etc.)
Confidence Interval
Confusion matrix
Dimensionality reduction/Clusters in thing space
Effect size
Forest plot
Funnel plot
Good vs bad proxies
Local and global maxima, hill climbing
Power
Precision and accuracy
Regression
Sample size
Searching under the streetlight
Signal/noise
Tail miscalibration/model uncertainty
Type I and II errors

Sticky concepts
Inception
Memetics
Pattern completion
Simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness, credibility, emotions, stories
Virality coefficient
Why/How/What hierarchy

Structured analytic techniques
Optimal brainstorming
Cross impact analysis
Key assumptions check
Trend analysis
Alternative hypothesis generation
Scenario/evidence matrix
Foxy elimination
Challenge
Red team
What if
Premortem

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