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Omission Neglect

Definition

Omission neglect refers to insensitivity to missing information of all types—including unmentioned or unknown options, alternatives, features, properties, characteristics, possibilities, and events. When people fail to think about what they do not know, they underestimate the importance of missing information, and this leads people to form strong opinions even when the available evidence is weak. This can lead to bad decisions that people later regret.

History and Background

It is often surprisingly difficult to notice that important information is missing. For example, in the story, “The Silver Blaze,” Sherlock Holmes asked Inspector Gregory to consider a curious incident involving a dog. Gregory replied that nothing happened, and Holmes proclaimed, “That was the curious incident.” This clue enabled Holmes to deduce that the culprit must have been someone ...

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