Survivorship bias

survivor biasdominated by durable examplessurvival bias
Survivorship bias or survival bias is the logical error of concentrating on the people or things that made it past some selection process and overlooking those that did not, typically because of their lack of visibility.wikipedia
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Push of the past

Large groups of organisms called clades that survive a long time are subject to various survivorship biases such as the "push of the past", generating the illusion that clades in general tend to originate with a high rate of diversification that then slows through time.
The push of the past is a type of survivorship bias associated with evolutionary diversification when extinction is possible.

Selection bias

selection effectselectionbias
It is a form of selection bias.
It is closely related to the survivorship bias, where only the subjects that "survived" a process are included in the analysis or the failure bias, where only the subjects that "failed" a process are included.

Anthropic principle

weak anthropic principleanthropicAnthropic bias
The anthropic principle is a philosophical consideration that observations of the universe must be compatible with the conscious and sapient life that observes it, and that there is hence a survivorship bias.

Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science

Fads and Fallacies: In the Name of ScienceIn the Name of Science
Writing about the Rhine case in Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science, Martin Gardner explained that he did not think the experimenters had made such obvious mistakes out of statistical naïveté, but as a result of subtly disregarding some poor subjects.

Fallacy

informal fallacyfallacieslogical fallacy
Survivorship bias or survival bias is the logical error of concentrating on the people or things that made it past some selection process and overlooking those that did not, typically because of their lack of visibility.

Post hoc ergo propter hoc

post hoc, ergo propter hocpost hocpost hoc fallacy
It can also lead to the false belief that the successes in a group have some special property, rather than just coincidence (correlation proves causality).

Mutual fund

mutual fundsfundfunds
For example, a mutual fund company's selection of funds today will include only those that are successful now.

Backtesting

hindcastbacktestbacktested
Additionally, in quantitative backtesting of market performance or other characteristics, survivorship bias is the use of a current index membership set rather than using the actual constituent changes over time.

Scientific American

Spektrum der WissenschaftThe Scientific AmericanPour la Science
Michael Shermer in Scientific American and Larry Smith of the University of Waterloo have described how advice about commercial success distorts perceptions of it by ignoring all of the businesses and college dropouts that failed.

University of Waterloo

WaterlooWaterloo UniversityThe University of Waterloo
Michael Shermer in Scientific American and Larry Smith of the University of Waterloo have described how advice about commercial success distorts perceptions of it by ignoring all of the businesses and college dropouts that failed.

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable

The Black Swannarrative fallacyThe Black Swan (Taleb book)
In his book The Black Swan, financial writer Nassim Taleb called the data obscured by survivorship bias "silent evidence."

Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Nassim TalebIncertoNicholas Taleb
In his book The Black Swan, financial writer Nassim Taleb called the data obscured by survivorship bias "silent evidence."

Diagoras of Melos

DiagorasDiagoras "the Atheist" of Melos
Diagoras of Melos was asked concerning paintings of those who had escaped shipwreck: "Look, you who think the gods have no care of human things, what do you say to so many persons preserved from death by their especial favour?", to which Diagoras replied: "Why, I say that their pictures are not here who were cast away, who are by much the greater number."

Planned obsolescence

Programmed obsolescencebuilt-in expiry datesBuilt-in obsolescence
Though survivorship bias may explain a significant portion of the common perception that older manufacturing processes were more rigorous, there are other processes that may explain that perception, such as planned obsolescence and overengineering.

Overengineering

Over-designingover-engineeredoverengineer
Though survivorship bias may explain a significant portion of the common perception that older manufacturing processes were more rigorous, there are other processes that may explain that perception, such as planned obsolescence and overengineering.

Abraham Wald

WaldWald, Abraham
During World War II, the statistician Abraham Wald took survivorship bias into his calculations when considering how to minimize bomber losses to enemy fire.

Operations research

operational researchoperation researchoperational analysis
His work is considered seminal in the then-nascent discipline of operational research.

Brodie helmet

steel helmetsteel helmetshelmets
As another example, when the brodie helmet was introduced during WWI, there was a dramatic rise in field hospital admissions of severe head injury victims.

Shrapnel shell

shrapnelshrapnel grenadesspherical case shot
This led army command to consider redrawing the design, until a statistician remarked that soldiers who before were being killed by certain shrapnel hits to the head (and therefore never showed up in a field hospital), now survived the same hits, making it to a field hospital.

Terminal velocity

settling velocityterminal speedterminal velocities
It has been proposed that this might happen because cats reach terminal velocity after righting themselves at about five stories, and after this point they relax, leading to less severe injuries in cats who have fallen from six or more stories.

The Straight Dope

Straight DopeStraight Dope (The)the Straight Dope online
In 2008, The Straight Dope newspaper column proposed that another possible explanation for this phenomenon would be survivorship bias.

Liana

lianasclimbing vinevine
Tropical vines and lianas are often viewed as macro-parasites of trees that reduce host tree survival.

Clade

cladesgroupcladistic
Large groups of organisms called clades that survive a long time are subject to various survivorship biases such as the "push of the past", generating the illusion that clades in general tend to originate with a high rate of diversification that then slows through time.