In the latest episode of EconTalk, Russ Roberts mentions Jens Rasmussen’s classification of errors into three categories: slips, mistakes, and violations.
So, a slip is: you just do something you immediately realize wasn’t what you meant to do — pushed the wrong button, locked yourself out of your house, forgot your car keys. Mistakes are things you do because your view of the world is wrong. So, you took out a subprime mortgage and bought a house because you thought house prices would continue to rise and you would be able to remortgage your house. Then there’s a violation — something you know is against the rules but you did it anyway, for whatever reason.
Perhaps it would be useful to classify errors more continuously based on how long it takes to regret them. For example, you might know you’ve made a slip a split second later. It typically takes longer to realize you’ve made a mistake. And violating a regulation, assuming it’s a wise regulation, may not lead to negative consequences for quite some time.