On being biased

I know quotes are often lame, but at the same time sometimes it is distilled wisdom of such profound insight that it begs to be shared. The art of Facebook is knowing the difference.

This falls in the latter category:

“For us humans, everything is permanent - until it changes, as we are immortal until we die” 
 Malcolm Muggeridge

It casts a light on the human propensity to (over-value) our own views and opinions and in fact have a very tenuous, if not unrealistic, grasp on reality. Much of our failure to deal with reality is now increasingly being documented by Neuroscientists who are identifying our biases.

Here is a long list of biases that contaminate the human experience, and of course given a lifetime of study (and interest) in Consumer Behaviour, we keep a close eye on developments in this space. It is particularly relevant to our work in helping organisations adopt a more customer-centric culture, as we have to constantly work around people’s inability and unwillingness to change. Two powerful biases we come across often are:

Confirmation bias: The tendency to search for, interpret, focus on and remember information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions.

Dunning–Kruger effect: When incompetent people fail to realise they are incompetent because they lack the skill to distinguish between competence and incompetence.