May 31, 2019
This has been an amazing month as I spoke at eight different
events across the country on 6 different topics, from pricing to
change management, why consumers are weird and how behavioral
economics is the future of branding. I love speaking at events like
this and want to welcome all of you who are joining the podcast
after hearing me speak at one of those events. I had so much fun
getting to know and interact with many of you, and want to thank
you for listening. Welcome to The Brainy Business Family!
What do I mean when I talk about “selective attention” biases?
If you have been listening to the series so far, you know we have
talked about how our brains are biased toward ourselves, the way we
think about others, our memories, and past versus
future. Today, we are going to dig into all those biases that
have to do with how we focus our attention and how that can color
our impression of the world around us.
- [00:04:25] We are going to dig into all those biases that have
to do with how we focus our attention and how that can color our
impression of the world around us.
- [00:05:34] I have broken selective attention into three
categories: where we focus our attention, how that impacts the
decisions we make, and how it colors our perception when looking
- [00:05:54] The most common concept and one I am guessing you
are very familiar with even if you don’t know the name of it, is
called the frequency illusion, selection bias or
the Baader-Meinhof effect. This is where after
something comes to our attention it seems to be everywhere.
- [00:07:30] The recency illusion which would be
if I thought the phenomenon of the word “panacea” being everywhere
is because it is a brand new word everyone has just started using
(instead of a word that was recently introduced to me).
- [00:08:30] This is similar to availability,
which was the focus of episode 15. We humans put more weight and
importance on things we can recall easiest.
- [00:09:43] This can lead to the availability
cascade, which is a self-reinforcing process where hearing
and seeing something more and more makes it feel more and more true
- [00:10:14] Once we become familiar with things or concepts, we
are much more likely to like or believe them because of the
mere exposure effect.
- [00:10:53] Selective perception is when our
expectations impact the way we perceive things. For example, if you
expect a sales call to go badly, it probably will.
- [00:11:53] This is very similar to attentional
bias, which is when our perceptions are impacted by
recurring thoughts and the focusing effect, which
is when we place too much importance on one aspect of an
- [00:14:12] The Von Restorff effect, is where
something that sticks out is more likely to be remembered than
- [00:16:09] Due to the rhyme as reason effect,
we believe statements that rhyme to be more truthful than those
- [00:16:45] Due to the belief bias, we also
base the logical strength of an entire argument on the
believability of the conclusion.
- [00:17:26] We also tend to focus on specifics and think they
are more likely to happen than general conditions because of
- [00:18:39] Base rate fallacy or base
rate neglect, where we tend to ignore generic or general
information (also known as base rate information) to focus on more
specific information that only pertains to a certain case.
- [00:20:13] Exaggerated expectation is where
people tend to predict and expect more extreme outcomes than what
- [00:20:46] DECISIONS MADE: Our brains get what they expect.
Because of the Semmelweis reflex, people tend to
reject new evidence that contradicts their perspective, paradigm,
- [00:21:27] Experimenters or expectation bias
is the tendency for someone to believe, certify, and publish data
that aligns with what they expected to see.
- [00:22:46] Illusory correlation is when
someone will inaccurately perceive a relationship between two
- [00:23:40] Subjective validation is where
someone sees something as being true if their previous beliefs
demand it to be true.
- [00:24:09] Biases can lead to the backfire
effect or the continued influence effect,
which is when someone will disconfirm evidence that is presented by
strengthening their previous beliefs. We also suffer from
confirmation bias, which is when we search for,
interpret, remember or focus on information that confirms our
- [00:25:16] The size of the space being searched can cause the
researcher to observe something statistically significant that
actually wouldn’t be if the parameters had been set correctly
because of the look elsewhere effect. This is
similar to congruencies bias, where someone will
directly test their hypotheses instead of testing possible
- [00:27:25] Information bias is when we keep
seeking more and more information even when it can’t affect our
actions. Distinction bias is when you are
comparing two things at once you are more likely to see what is
different about them (than if you evaluate each on its own).
- [00:28:51] Due to hindsight bias or the
“I knew it all along effect” we tend to see past
events as being more predictable than they actually were.
- [00:29:22] Outcome bias is when we judge a
decision based on the outcome instead of the quality of the
- [00:29:57] The misinformation effect is where
memories are less accurate because of information that comes about
after the event is over.
- [00:30:20] Consistency bias is where you
remember your past attitudes and behavior as in alignment with the
way you think and feel now (even if you didn’t feel that way at the
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