The Sunday Feed

Pride & Prejudice — The Ego-Bias!

Pride and Prejudice is classic by Jane Austen that portrays the turbulent relationship between Elizabeth Bennet, the daughter of a country gentleman, and Fitzwilliam Darcy, a rich aristocratic landowner. The plot is that they must overcome the financial and moral differences in order to fall in love and marry.

The human race moves on in its pursuit to reach unknown planets while simultaneously destroying the planet that it inhabits calling it evolution. Several artificial changes are acquired to reinstate the fact that people are ditching the old ways of life for the new. However, if you remove the façade, you will realize that the values and beliefs they hold don’t seem to lose ground. They continue to get stronger with each passing day.

There is a very fine line between a belief and a bias. They can be flexed as much as you want and in the direction you opt for. Often, one gets mixed up with the other and gives you an alibi to forgive yourself that you were not biased but you just happened to succumb to your belief system.

So let’s have a look at the 5 most frequent and famous biases that keep resurfacing in a majority of the people whether they know it or not. Whether they like it or not! Whether they admit it or not!

1. Confirmation bias

A state when a person looks for and interprets information that backs up an assumption or theory they already have. For example, if you presented someone with hard evidence that gender bias exists, and they are already convinced that it doesn’t, they’re much more likely to dismiss the evidence, rather than reconsider your opinion.

We will see this in a lot of cases where there has been a miscarriage of justice because the jury started the hearing with the assumption that the person who was accused of the crime was a indeed guilty.

Every time they were thrown with evidences, they promptly picked the ones that confirmed their bias while happily rejecting those that did not.

2. The anchoring Bias

Also referred to as the “relativity trap”, the anchoring effect is when consumers focus on a single aspect of a product or service to the exclusion of all other considerations.

For many consumers, price is the most important part of the decision-making process. While the world might seem to have demolished the differences and pledged to live as one multi-cultural society, the truth is far from reality.

Race, cast, religion, wealth, gender biases are seen everywhere and in every walk of life. Women are still seen as more emotional, while men on the other hand are seen as physically stronger. Even today, people prefer politicians that look handsome as they think they will be able to come with better policies.

3. This ambiguity effect

It can be best summarized as the decision to favor a choice with a known outcome, rather than “take a chance” on a choice with unknown probabilities. From a psychological standpoint, the ambiguity effect is closely related to risk aversion.

The population of the world is 7.75 billion yet there are only 582 million entrepreneurs. The rest seem to prefer to play it safe. Not that there is anything wrong with it, it’s just that it is highly likely that risk aversion could be one of the prime reasons that is stopping them from venturing into one. It goes to show that only 7% of the people in the world like to take the road not taken!

4. Follow the herd!

This cognitive bias is closely related to a psychological phenomenon known as bandwagon mentality. Individuals experiencing this effect place much greater value on decisions that are likely to conform to current trends or please individuals within their existing peer group.

Ever wondered why some hotels allow customers to sit there even when they don’t buy much. It is to attract the other customers who are new in the area. When they are deciding which restaurant to go, they see places that have got customers in them because they believe that the ones that are empty must be serving bad food.

Make no mistake, this bias is harbored by big corporates as well. Every one who jumped into the metaverse trend has started to realize that people are fed-up of social media and the artificial gratification it gives. They want to interact with real people and not some gadget. Seems a lot of companies are set to go down in the coming few years, all because they did what their competition was doing.

5. Status quo bias

A preference for a life that does not change! Individuals experiencing status quo bias often perceive any deviation from the “usual” as negative or a loss, resulting in a strong aversion to change.

Did you know Ukraine had nukes in 1992 and they gave it up! Some say that they did so because after the disintegration of USSR, they did not have the wherewithal to operate them as all the technicians were in Russia.

It is believed that all the nuclear weapons were in fact transported to Russia by year 2000 to be dismantled! Status quo prevailed for many years and they never bothered to knock hard on the doors of NATO. Had they shown an urgency to become a member, things would have been different today.

Of course, we cannot discount some of the rulers of Ukraine who were pro-Russian and contributed to this deliberation. But then one day came when status quo betrayed them.

Well that is all good but how does all this relate to Pride & Prejudice.

I think the biggest bias is not what you see in the textbooks but something that has not been defined yet. I call it the Ego-Bias. It’s our pride that does not allow us to accept that we have prejudices to begin with.

The moment you put a leash on your pride, you will see a better silhouette of all the prejudices you have. And the more you see them, the better you will become in identifying and annihilating them.

Socrates said that,” The one thing I know, is that I know nothing.” If he can be so humble, what stops us from being honest? Pride I guess!

John Khalkho — CEO: Dolores Education

Photo: Jopwell on Pexels

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