False consensus

attributional type of cognitive bias whereby people tend to overestimate the extent to which their own opinions, beliefs, preferences, values, and habits are normal and typical of those of others

False consensus or the effect of the false consensus is the tendency for people to assume that everyone else thinks the same way they do.[1]

In Little Rock in the 1950s, protesters claimed their opinions were widely shared in the US. Their belief was an example of the effect of the false consensus.

It is a cognitive bias in which a person overestimates the "agreement grade" that the other people have with them. In other words, people tend to think that others agree with them. Most of the time, a person thinks that their own attitudes, beliefs, values and habits are the most common ones. In reality, the person's thoughts may not be shared by others.

Another effect which can occur with false consensus is called pluralistic ignorance. In pluralistic ignorance, people support a norm or a belief in public, even though they really think it is wrong.



  1. "False Consensus & False Uniqueness". Psychology Campus.com. Archived from the original on 2007-11-17. Retrieved 2007-11-13.

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