What is the illusion of validity?

What is the illusion of validity?

The illusion of validity is a cognitive bias, people overestimate them selves . Predicting future outcomes based on given data or past experience.

This bias can lead to overconfidence in one’s own judgment and decision-making abilities, even in situations where the available information is limited or unreliable.

When this bias occurs?

The illusion of validity can occur when people believe they have access to all appropriate information۔ and can use that knowledge to make accurate predictions.

This kind of behavior is often witnessed in routine life.

People make self-assessments as there may be hidden or unknown factors that can affect the result.

in fact, their judgments may be flawed due to different factors such as individual biases, insufficient information, information overload, or inadequate reasoning.


Everyday life’s example of the illusion of validity is to be sure about someone because past performance is a reliable predictor of future performance. 

This belief is often a dominant factor at the time of job interviews or college admissions, where people use a candidate’s past achievements as a way to predict their future success.

But the reality is otherwise, Research has shown that this belief is often inaccurate, and past performance is not always a reliable predictor of future success.

The second example is of a stock trader who has successfully predicted the rise and fall of certain stocks in the past and may believe that he has developed a high level of expertise and can predict what is in the future.

 But he forgets the reality that the stock market is very complex and unpredictable, and there are many external and internal factors that can influence stock prices.

For example, economic and political events, and labor movements may not be fully known or understood.

Another example of the illusion of validity is the use of expert opinions to make decisions. 

intuition or past experiences

How to avoid illusion of validity

The illusion of validity can create critical problems and situations where high-stakes decisions are being made under the effect.

such as in financial investing or medical diagnoses, security, etc.

It is important to identify the limitations of one’s own wisdom and to pursue more details and perspectives or get an expert’s advice where necessary to make more educated decisions. 

Systematic decision-making processes with mindfulness, objective criteria, and evidence, make a huge difference.

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Sabahat Ali

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