Beware of bias

2 minutes read

Watch out now, take care
Beware of the thoughts that linger
Winding up inside your head
The hopelessness around you
In the dead of night
Beware of bias

— Beware Of Bias, George Harrison

Okay, the song doesn’t say that, but still, beware of bias… It’s crazy how sometimes we don’t take bias into account, even in important decisions.

In the vast area of biases that affect us, cognitive biases are especially appealing to me. It’s fascinating how they affect business, economic decisions and human behavior in general!

diagram of cognitive biases

When our biases affect others

One interesting way to look at this is how our biases can affect others in ways that we don’t imagine:

A quick Google search will present you with a ton - of - examples. The point is that biases are unavoidable and much of the time we are not aware of them.

When people use our biases to influence our behavior

Now, if we think about it, biases are all about perception… which turns out to be a word strongly related to marketing. Also, we must account that marketing it’s not only about a company trying to sell a product or service. Marketing is also present when a candidate is trying to win our vote or when someone at work lobbies a new idea.

Conveniently enough, I found the perfect example yesterday when I faced a Facebook ad. A company was giving up watches for free, you only had to pay the shipping (around $14). What an offer, ah!… yeah, but a bit of research shows that you can find the same watch on eBay for $4 with free shipping. So, they are selling the product for $14, which is not wrong per-se, but they are manipulating our perception.

Final words

To make this post even more inconclusive, I’d like to say a few words about biases and science.

Something that attracts me about science is that scientists (at least the good ones) admit they are wrong all the time. That is fantastic because from my biased point of view, that’s the way of progress!

“Science is wrong about everything, but you can trust it more than anything.” — Brian Nosek, director at

And, always remember to beware of bias…

Roberto Dip