Apr 23, 2021
Today we will be talking all
about familiarity bias. Sometimes on the show, I share concepts
with you that are a bit foreign. Like one of my all-time favorites
in hyperbolic time discounting or even something like “choice
architecture” which can sound a little intimidating. Others are
like the topic of today’s show. Familiarity bias is less scary
It’s a term that is a bit like a
warm hug, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things for you to
learn. This is a bias that can serve you well in life and business
but it also often steers people wrong. So it is important to know
how it works, and what to be on the lookout for on both the
positive and negative sides.
- [00:07] Today’s behavioral
economics foundations episode is about familiarity
- [02:30] The subconscious brain
makes decisions using rules of thumb based on predictability. It
likes to know what is coming next so it can keep the reins which
means it has a strong bias toward things it is familiar
- [04:03] What matters is knowing
that the more people become familiar with things, the more likely
they are to prefer them; to have a bias toward them.
- [04:22] Studies have shown that
our bias toward the familiar can make it so we make worse bets,
that we invest in the wrong things, that we will be more likely to
hold out in jobs that we have outgrown or keep pouring money into
projects we should have let go of.
- [05:49] That new job
opportunity or relationship or project or apartment or whatever
else is presenting itself will probably be scary at first, but that
doesn’t mean it is bad or wrong. Embrace the feeling and jump in
knowing that soon it will be like that song you hated the first
time you heard it.
- [07:54] Eventually, and much
faster than you think, this will become familiar—the new normal.
You will adjust. Look at how so many people adjusted to working
from home or wearing masks during the pandemic.
- [09:07] Is there a “way you’ve
always done things” that feels like you can’t change it but might
just be familiarity bias?
- [09:48] Awareness of
familiarity bias can help you ask that question when you feel
hesitant to take a step in a new direction.
- [11:59] Don’t be afraid to
reuse an ad a few times, people might like it more as they continue
to see it.
- [13:47] You don’t have to
constantly feel the pressure to reinvent the
- If something worked, keep doing
it! Maybe you want to do a slight tweak to see if you can improve
on a good thing, but if it ain’t broke, don’t throw it out and
start on something new.
- [15:43] It’s ok to prioritize
an important project now and let something else that is doing fine
sit on the shelf a little longer. It may be becoming familiar and
making your customers like it (and you) even more with
- [16:58] Some things are not
going to benefit you if you change them up. They could actually be
- [17:40] When you are feeling
like you’ve done something a few times so people must be getting
bored with it and they’ll leave if you don’t do something new and
fresh, remind your conscious brain that people like
- [18:09] If you have anyone,
customers or team members (or family members!) who hate the idea of
a change and fight or resist at first, give it a little time to let
familiarity bias set in.
- [19:21] What do you have in
your business that is best to keep familiar for your
- [19:48] Melina’s first
book, What Your Customer
Wants and Can’t Tell You is officially on presale and available
on Amazon, Bookshop, Barnes
Book Depository, and Booktopia. Buy today and be one of the first to receive
a copy when it officially launches May 11, 2021.
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