Those BREEDING biases

October 1, 2020

So there I was last week, deep in the analysis of some qual research.

   

I was trying to pin down a certain type of affiliative need and into my head popped behavioural economics. They’ll have a theory, I thought.

   

Well I tell you, them biases, they’ve been breeding.

   

Here’s what I picked out of my Google wormhole.

   

There’s Social Proof - why popular things become even more popular.

   

Or the Bandwagon Effect - why we support opinions as they become more popular.

   

Or a Confirmation Bias - why people seek out information that confirms their pre-existing beliefs.

 

Or an Anchoring Bias - why we tend to rely heavily on the first information we receive.

 

Or a Framing Effect - why someone makes a decision because of the way information is presented to them.

 

Or Wishful Seeing - why what we see is what we want to see.

 

Or the Ambiguity Effect - why we prefer options that are known to us.

 

Or a Commitment Bias - why people support their past ideas, even when presented with evidence that they’re wrong.

 

Or Choice Overload - why we have a harder time choosing when we have more options.

 

Or a Zero Risk Bias - why we prefer to eliminate one category of risk entirely, even if doing so increases our overall risk.

 

And that was just ten that sounded vaguely relevant. There are actually bloody hundreds of them. It’s a choice overload factory.

 

By the way, should it be ‘why’ or ‘how’ when defining a bias? Are they explanations or observations?

 

Anyway, I decided that on my particular project it was none of the above. 

 

The answer was where it always was, in the research. In the phrases people used and the way they used them. Even in the body language, despite the handicap of Zoom. A tilt of a head as they paused for thought.

 

There’ll be a bias for my insight one day, the rate they’re going. 

 

Until then, I’m keeping it for me and my client.

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