Making characters believable is hard. One technique to make characters believable is to give them flaws. Often, writers will use techniques like introducing moral, ethical or emotional flaws into their characters. But, there are other ways to make flawed characters. Sometimes, it’s best to make your character flawed in ways that we are all flawed: cognitive bias.
I’ve been listening to the You Are Not So Smart podcast and it’s got me thinking about ways that we all have cognitive bias and ways of thinking that get in our way. I’ve been wondering, what if I created characters that have obvious cognitive bias (obvious to the readers), that they themselves can’t see? What if, characters weren’t morally flawed, but just blind to the truth?
This has probably been done before and I’d love to see examples of this in the wild. Do you know of characters, especially protagonists, that have obvious cognitive bias or other false beliefs? What do you think about this approach to character creation?