Behavioral Diagnostics Toolkit

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System Justification

People tend to (often subconsciously) support the status quo, especially in terms of the existing political and social structures and institutions.


An eye for an eye, a hug for hug… In social interactions, we are likely to respond to the behavior of others in a manner that matches our perceptions of their behavior. We are nicer and more cooperative with nicer people, and confrontational or uncooperative with hostile people. Similarly, we have an expectation that others will react to us in a way that is congruent with our own behaviors.

Omission Bias

To act, or not to act? Omission Bias describes our tendency to judge harmful actions (e.g., prescribing a wrong medication) as worse than equally harmful failures to act (e.g., not taking any medication at all). This is partly due to the salience and observability of actions, as compared to omissions of actions.
For example, in one study, encouraging a sports competitor to eat food they are unknowingly allergic to was perceived as a worse action by a majority of participants than remaining silent when observing that sports competitor eating a food they are unknowingly allergic to.

Identifiable Victim

Save THIS child! The Identifiable Victim Effect describes our tendency to empathize with distinct, known individuals far more than large numbers of anonymous people. Creating salient social markers and identifiers can greatly enhance our ability to empathize.

Everyday Dishonesty

Otherwise honest people will cheat and be dishonest to an extent that allows them to maintain a positive self-view.

Bounded Ethicality

Many moral transgressions occur not because of conscious, malicious intent, but because of limitations on our cognitive capacity for making fully informed judgments. For example, stress related to a certain decision due to limitations on time or resources may influence our ability to recognize our own conflicts of interest.