If you knew that by tapping three times on your left wrist would cause someone to regularly say “yes,” then you would probably never wear a wrist watch again.
The real decisions as to whether someone will buy your services or products…or you has very little to do with your actual service or product. It has to do with how people make decisions…what causes their behavior.
In this article, I’m going to show you nine categories of “biases” that cause people to make the decisions that they make…nine ways that you can tap on your wrist…
Each factor can be directly applied to your work and the promotion and selling of your work.
Here’s a quick example and a key to understanding everything that follows:
If someone has a belief about something, they will see and process only further information that is consistent with that belief. They will disregard all other information no matter how important and accurate it is.
When a football player catches a ball and there is a question (a close call) as to whether he is in bounds or out of bounds, typically there is no doubt in the minds of fans watching the same video. They will view the same information and come up with different decisions, based upon their biases.
Interviewing Democrats and Republicans this week in the USA (before the election), it was found that the majority of democrats believed the elections in Iraq would not be considered “valid.” Republicans thought it would be considered valid. Both groups were equally as certain they were right.
The majority of Christians are just as certain as the majority of Jews who are just as certain as the majority of Muslims that their religion is the right and true religion. (Which makes good sense because who wants to be part of the wrong religion?)
Of course this can cause a bit of a problem in people’s behavior, as the world has witnessed. When people have beliefs which they will defend at every cost, lots of bad things can happen.
What about when someone is deciding to buy you, your services or product? The VERY SAME biases that go into whether the player was in bounds, the religion is right, or the election is valid are the SAME BIASES that people filter information through to decide whether they will buy from YOU, whether they will do business with YOU, whether they will even TALK with you.
Good or bad, there are certain types of information that cause people to decide what they are going to do.
9 Core Areas
Research currently being done for the U.S. military reveals 9 core areas of “bias,” for information. That means there are 9 different categories of information that stop people from thinking about what matters in making good decisions.
All of these factors are crucial for influence because decision making is the goal of every attempt to influence someone. (You want them to make a decision.)
Simply put, if you want someone to buy you and your products, and you are their best option, you must take advantage of the processes that cause people to make decisions. Here in this article are the preprogrammed biases that people will use to filter you and everything you say.
Research into how people make decisions while under pressure could help the U.S. military improve training for its leaders and lead to better decision-support systems. Studies have shown that when people process information, they develop unconscious strategies – or biases – that simplify their decisions. Now, research at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) is revealing how these biases affect people when they’re dealing with lots of information – and little time to form conclusions.
“The immediate application for this research is to develop training programs to improve decision-making,” said Dennis Folds, a principal research scientist in GTRI’s Electronic Systems Laboratory. “Yet our findings could also help design new types of decision-support systems.” The research indicated that nine different kinds of biases can lead to errors in judgment when people are dealing with a lot of information. Meanwhile, the error rate was not as high as researchers expected for individuals under time pressure. Also, the study revealed that subjects who were trained to spot conditions that lead to decision-making biases were better at detecting “false-alarm opportunities.”
The Army Research Institute funded Folds to conduct a series of experiments that combined a high volume of data with time pressures. The experiments simulated the changing reality of military decision-makers. Commanders today communicate more directly with field personnel. The amount and variety of information at their disposal has escalated with sources ranging from real-time sensors and voice communications to archived data. The result can be ambiguous, disjointed information rather than integrated, organized reports.
“This puts far greater pressure on leaders, who must make faster decisions while sifting through more data,” Folds noted. In his experiments, he considered previous research on seven specific biases that affect individuals who must wrestle with large amounts of data:
- Absence of evidence. Missing, relevant information is not properly considered.
- Availability. Recent events or well-known conjecture provide convenient explanations.
- Oversensitivity to consistency. People give more weight to multiple reports of information, even if the data came from the same source.
- Persistence of discredited information. Information once deemed relevant continues to influence even after it has been discredited.
- Randomness. People perceive a causal relationship when two or more events share some similarity, although the events aren’t related.
- Sample size. Evidence from small samples is seen as having the same significance as larger samples.
- Vividness. When people perceive information directly, it has greater impact than information they receive secondhand — even if the secondhand information has more substance.
To test the affects of these biases, Folds had experiment subjects view an inbox on a computer screen containing a variety of text messages, maps, photographs and video and audio recordings. Subjects (the majority being Georgia Tech ROTC students) were instructed to report certain military situations, such as incidents of sniper fire or acts of suspected sabotage. They were not to report other events, such as normal accidents in an urban area unrelated to enemy activity.
To decide whether or not an event should be reported, subjects reviewed a series of messages that contained both bona fide evidence as well as information created to trigger the biases that cause poor decisions. In each trial, subjects were allowed enough time to spend an average of 20 seconds per element data plus one additional minute for reporting; they were also asked to attach information that supported their decision.
In the first experiment, all seven biases appeared with the greatest number of errors caused by vividness and oversensitivity to consistency. In addition, Folds discovered two new biases that can hinder the quality of rapid decisions:
- Superficial similarity. Evidence is considered relevant because of some superficial attribute, such as a key word in a message title. For example, a hostage situation might have been reported earlier, and then another message shows up in the inbox with the word “hostage” in its header, although the message’s actual content has nothing to do with hostages.
- Sensationalist appeal. Items containing exaggerated claims or threats influence a decision-maker even when there is no substance to the content.
Folds was surprised at how well subjects could perform the task while under pressure, he said. Although he expected an accuracy rate of about 50 percent, subjects correctly reported 70 percent of incidents.
In a second experiment, researchers divided subjects into two groups, using one as a control group while training the other group how to spot conditions that spark decision-making biases. Subjects who received training were able to detect about twice as many “false-alarm opportunities” as the control group.
The biggest difference between the two groups involved “persistence of discredited information” and “small sample” biases. Forty-eight percent of trained subjects were able to recognize when a “persistence” bias existed compared to 18 percent of the control group. Fifty percent of trained subjects caught the “sample-size” traps versus 11 percent of the control group. Although training helped participants recognize when traps existed, it didn’t help them identify the specific bias. “When subjects were under pressure to make decisions rapidly, the distinctiveness of the categories fell apart,” Folds explained. “That’s significant, because it helps us tailor training efforts.”
The experiments also revealed what kind of information is meaningful to decision-makers, Folds noted. Software designed especially for the trials tracks when subjects open a document for the first time and when they go back for a second time or third look. The amount of time that subjects spend reviewing data – along with the data they attach to reports showed a decided preference for text messages over other formats. Folds’ team is conducting more research: Two new sets of trials are examining how decision-making errors occur in groups, while another experiment is trying to pinpoint how rapidly individuals can make good decisions.
Where can you find more information like this? The only place we know that consolidates the newest influence research studies:
Science of Influence: The Master’s Home Study Course
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- The one way that reciprocity can blow up and completely backfire.
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- There is one KEY factor in making your clients’ decisions permanent: Here it is!
- How to specifically use Hypnotic Confusion in influential messages.
- The most effective non-coercive way to gain compliance on record.
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