A real-life example of vividness bias can often be observed in the outcome of business negotiations. Price is usually the most vivid information, while other aspects, such the complexity of implementation, or the time needed to complete the project, might be ignored.
The vividness effect in communication is the persuasive impact that vivid information is thought to have on opinions and behaviors. In other words, information that is vivid, concrete, dramatic, etc., is more likely to capture our attention and sway us into believing or doing one thing rather than another. On the contrary, information that is dull or abstract is not so effective. The vividness effect relates to the vividness bias.
Vividness bias is important because it can affect our decisions and negotiations. It causes us to assign more weight to vivid information, like a perception of prestige, rather than other factors that, upon greater reflection, are more important to us. As a result, we get distracted and lose sight of our goals and priorities.
A real-life example of correspondence bias is how we think about people who cut in line. For example, you are waiting in line at the airport and someone cuts in front of you at the security checkpoint. Because of correspondence bias, your immediate reaction is to feel annoyed and think that the person must be entitled and rude. In reality, this person may never cut into lines and they are doing this only because they are about to miss their plane, which they are taking to visit a sick family member.
Correspondence bias is a problem because it can cause us to make incorrect judgments about other people’s behaviors. This can lead to misunderstandings that can negatively affect our relationship with them. When we overlook the situation and jump to conclusions about an individual’s character, it is also easier to justify reacting to them aggressively.
In a wider social context, if we ignore the situational factors that might have pushed someone to behave a certain way, we may also ignore systemic factors, like discrimination. For example, some people attribute poverty and unemployment to individuals rather than to social conditions.
Correspondence bias and fundamental attribution error were often seen as interchangeable in the past. However, researchers have recently proposed that there is a subtle difference between the two.
- Correspondence bias refers to the fact that behavior is often viewed as a reflection of a person’s character. In other words, we believe that a person’s behavior reflects stable internal qualities, even though it was actually caused by the situation.
The fundamental attribution error refers to the idea that people fundamentally ignore or underestimate situational influences on others’ behavior.
- Although people often commit the fundamental attribution error, they do not necessarily fall for correspondence bias at the same time. Only when we take the fundamental attribution error one step further and judge a person’s character from their actions do we display correspondence bias.
A real-life example of perception bias is the false consensus effect. Because we spend most of our time with friends, family, and colleagues who share the same opinions or values we do, we are often misled to believe that the majority of people think or act in ways similar to us. This explains, for instance, why some people take office supplies home: they may genuinely feel that this behavior is more common than it really is.
Perception bias is a problem because it prevents us from seeing situations or people objectively. Rather, our expectations, beliefs, or emotions interfere with how we interpret reality. This, in turn, can cause us to misjudge ourselves or others. For example, our prejudices can interfere with whether we perceive people’s faces as friendly or unfriendly.
Selective perception is the unconscious process by which people screen, select, and notice objects in their environment. During this process, information tends to be selectively perceived in ways that align with existing attitudes, beliefs, and goals.
Although this allows us to concentrate only on the information that is relevant for us at present, it can also lead to perception bias. For example, while driving, if you become hyper-focused on reaching your exit on a highway, your brain may filter visual stimuli so that you can only focus on things you need to notice in order to exit the highway. However, this can also cause you to miss other things happening around you on the road.
Myside bias is a type of cognitive bias where individuals process information in a way that favors their prior beliefs and attitudes. It occurs when people search for, interpret, and recall information that confirms their opinions, and refute opinions different from their own—such as selecting news sources that agree with one’s political affiliation, while ignoring any opposing arguments from other sources.
Myside bias is closely related to confirmation bias. Although some researchers use the terms interchangeably, others use myside bias to refer to the tendency of processing information that supports one’s own position.