We’re All Less Biased Than Most People

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Publishing in Management Science, a team of researchers believe that they have found a near-universal “bias blind spot.” Only one person out of 661 in their study said that he/she is more biased than the average person.

“People seem to have no idea how biased they are. Whether a good decision-maker or a bad one, everyone thinks that they are less biased than their peers,” comments a co-author of the study in a press release. “This susceptibility to the bias blind spot appears to be pervasive, and is unrelated to people’s intelligence, self-esteem, and actual ability to make unbiased judgments and decisions.”

“When physicians receive gifts from pharmaceutical companies, they may claim that the gifts do not affect their decisions about what medicine to prescribe because they have no memory of the gifts biasing their prescriptions,” comments another co-author of the study. “However, if you ask them whether a gift might unconsciously bias the decisions of other physicians, most will agree that other physicians are unconsciously biased by the gifts, while continuing to believe that their own decisions are not. This disparity is the bias blind spot, and occurs for everyone, for many different types of judgments and decisions.”

Everyone has a bias blind spot, researchers find (Carnegie Mellon University press release on ScienceDaily, June 8, 2015)

Scopelliti, Irene, Carey K. Morewedge, Erin McCormick, H. Lauren Min, Sophie Lebrecht, and Karim S. Kassam. “Bias Blind Spot: Structure, Measurement, and Consequences.” Management Science, April 24, 2015, 150424060229007. doi:10.1287/mnsc.2014.2096. (Abstract)

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3 COMMENTS

  1. “Our research found that the extent to which one is blind to her own bias has important consequences for the quality of decision-making. People more prone to think they are less biased than others are less accurate at evaluating their abilities relative to the abilities of others, they listen less to others’ advice, and are less likely to learn from training that would help them make less biased judgments.”

    Wouldn’t this largely describe today’s psychiatric industry which is quite biased against their patients, doesn’t listen to their patients’ opinions, are seemingly less accurate at evaluating their abilities relative to the abilities of others, and can’t seem to learn from their own published findings about the inefficacy and toxic nature of the psychiatric drugs? Which would imply that the psychiatrists have the worst “quality of decision-making,” likely of all professions.