There is a great list of critical thinking traps & tips over at litemind.com. I'm summarizing them here so I remember them!
1. The Anchoring Trap: Over-Relying on First Thoughts.
initial impressions, ideas, estimates or data “anchor” subsequent thoughts
- Always view a problem from different perspectives
- Think on your own before consulting others
- Seek information from a wide variety of sources
2. The Status Quo Trap: Keeping on Keeping On
status quo automatically has an advantage over every other alternative
- Consider the status quo as just another alternative.
- Know your objectives.
- Avoid exaggerating switching costs.
3. The Sunk Cost Trap: Protecting Earlier Choices
it's a sunk cost, and it shouldn't influence your decision
- Be OK with making mistakes.
- Listen to people who were not involved in the earlier decisions.
- Focus on your goals.
4. The Confirmation Trap: Seeing What You Want to See
looking for information that will most likely support your initial point of view
- Expose yourself to conflicting information.
- Get a devil's advocate.
- Don't ask leading questions.
5. The Incomplete Information Trap: Review Your Assumptions
(my favorite, but hard to execute!)
overlooking a simple data element can make our intuitions go completely astray
- Make your assumptions explicit.
- Always favor hard data over mental simplifications.
6. The Conformity Trap: Everybody Else Is Doing It
other people's actions do heavily influence ours
- Discount the influence of others.
- Beware "social proof".
- Be courageous.
7. The Illusion of Control Trap: Shooting in the Dark
we still tend to irrationally believe that we can somehow influence results. We just love to feel in control
- Understand that randomness is part and parcel of life.
- Beware of superstitions.
8. The Coincidence Trap: We Suck at Probabilities
Probabilities can be unintuitive.
- Don't over-rely on gut estimates.
- Beware of "after the fact" probabilities.
9. The Recall Trap: Not All Memories Are Created Equal
we analyze information based on experience, on what we can remember from it
- Get hard data. (there's that hard data thing again - see # 5)
- Be aware of your emotions.
10. The Superiority Trap: The Average is Above Average
people have much inflated views of themselves
- Be humble.
- Don't go overboard. (wrt applying rigor and rational thinking)