19 Ridiculously Simple Lessons in Persuasion

Lesson 10 - Confirmation Bias🔝

This Principle is about Confirmation Bias.

The first interaction you have with someone sets up a rule in their mind. Once the rule is set, every interaction after that will confirm their original rule.

One day while walking in the streets of New York City, I was almost hit by a car. I looked up and saw that the car had a New Jersey license plate. A few days later the same thing. I got so angry and thought about a saying "Jersey Driver."  

After this event, it seemed only people from New Jersey were bad drivers. It happened quite often to me. But one day I wondered if this was really the case or is something else going on. So I kept track, and it turned out that there were bad drivers from both NY and NJ.

I did some research and found out that this was called a confirmation bias. Once I set this rule in my mind I would reject many incidents from NY drivers.

"You never get a second chance to make a first impression." Will Rogers

Most people realize how important first impression are. Job interviews, first dates are all loaded with changes of behavior. We even expect people to be on their best behavior during these events.

So as an example if you get a new job you want to make the best first impression as possible as this impression will be hard or almost impossible to change. If your boss thinks you're a late person and you come in on time 50 times in a row but are late one time. This one time reinforces the rule and makes the 50 times meaningless.

One important rule of a confirmation bias is when you get a new boss and you don't have a new job, just your current boss leaves.  This is a very difficult situation to be in. This is because this new boss didn't hire you and you have probably gotten some habits that a new person wouldn't do that will be hard to shake. You really need to go out of your way to treat the new boss situation like you've got a new job.

Think back to your employment history. Do you see occasions where this change cost you more than you thought it should?

This can affect you when a confirmation bias trap is set. They point out some flaw in your work that once told will be hard to not confirm.

Think about what confirmation biases others hold on you and you hold on others. In a job situation, a very negative confirmation bias will be hard to break. It may pay to get a new job. Even a new boss might not resolve the situation as I said before what the old boss tells the new boss.

Another example of a confirmation bias at work is the Pygmalion Effect.

Also, Charlie Munger, Warren Buffet's partner discussed confirmation bias in this speech.

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