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Incomplete Disposition Fallacy

Updated Feb 27, 2023

The Incomplete Disposition Fallacy: A Flawed Approach to Decision Making


In the realm of decision making, it is crucial to weigh the pros and cons before reaching a conclusion. However, there exists a common cognitive bias known as the incomplete disposition fallacy, which can hinder our ability to make rational and informed choices. In this article, we will delve into the concept of the incomplete disposition fallacy, explore its implications, and discuss strategies to overcome this flawed approach.

Understanding the Incomplete Disposition Fallacy

The incomplete disposition fallacy, also known as the "one-sidedness bias," occurs when individuals base their judgments or decisions on incomplete information, focusing solely on one aspect while neglecting other relevant factors. It is a cognitive error that often leads to flawed conclusions, as it fails to consider the full range of possibilities or outcomes.

The Pitfalls of Ignoring Relevant Information

When succumbing to the incomplete disposition fallacy, individuals tend to overlook crucial details that might directly impact the decision at hand. By fixating on a single perspective or piece of information, they inadvertently neglect alternative viewpoints, potential risks, or even favorable outcomes that could alter their judgment.

For instance, imagine a person considering a job offer solely based on the attractive salary offered. Ignoring other essential factors like work-life balance, job satisfaction, or growth opportunities could lead to dissatisfaction or regret in the long run. This narrow focus on a single aspect represents a classic example of the incomplete disposition fallacy in action.

Overcoming the Incomplete Disposition Fallacy

Awareness of cognitive biases, such as the incomplete disposition fallacy, is the first step towards mitigating their impact on decision making. By recognizing this tendency within ourselves, we can implement strategies to avoid falling into its trap.

Seek Diverse Perspectives

One effective way to counter the incomplete disposition fallacy is by actively seeking out diverse perspectives and alternative viewpoints. Engaging in discussions or seeking advice from individuals with different experiences can provide fresh insights, highlight overlooked aspects, and broaden our understanding of the situation. This helps to reduce the risk of fixating on a single aspect and enables a more comprehensive evaluation.

Conduct a Cost-Benefit Analysis

A simple yet powerful tool to combat the incomplete disposition fallacy is conducting a cost-benefit analysis. This entails listing all the potential advantages and disadvantages related to the decision at hand. By systematically evaluating each factor, we gain a clearer picture of the overall implications and can avoid prioritizing one aspect over others. This method allows for a more balanced and informed decision-making process.

Embrace a Deliberative Approach

In situations where important decisions need to be made, it is crucial to adopt a deliberative approach rather than rushing into a quick judgment. Taking the time to gather all relevant information, considering multiple perspectives, and thoroughly analyzing the potential outcomes can help counteract the incomplete disposition fallacy. By embracing a more thoughtful and thorough decision-making process, we can minimize the chances of being swayed by incomplete information.


The incomplete disposition fallacy can have detrimental effects on our decision-making process, leading to suboptimal choices and regret. By understanding this cognitive bias and implementing strategies to counteract it, we can improve our ability to make rational and informed decisions. Seeking diverse perspectives, conducting cost-benefit analyses, and embracing a deliberative approach are all effective methods to overcome the incomplete disposition fallacy. By doing so, we can navigate the complexities of decision making with greater clarity and confidence.

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