You’re biased.

Haha, just kidding — but seriously. You are. And so am I.

McKinsey Quarterly wrote this golden article about management and the biases everyone has. We may not have all of them, we may not act on all the ones we have, but we all use biases to function, probably every day.

They make life more convenient. The brain is made to compartmentalize and organize people into certain categories and boxes. That’s where stereotypes come in, just another bias. Here’s a fun one from McKinsey:

One of the more peculiar wiring flaws in the brain is called anchoring. Present the brain with a number and then ask it to make an estimate of something completely unrelated, and it will anchor its estimate on that first number. The classic illustration is the Genghis Khan date test. Ask a group of people to write down the last three digits of their phone numbers, and then ask them to estimate the date of Genghis Khan’s death. Time and again, the results show a correlation between the two numbers; people assume that he lived in the first millennium, when in fact he lived from 1162 to 1227.

That could just be a poor knowledge of history, but this bias has been proven in other situations. Like when selling something: quoting a higher price to begin with will keep the buyer anchored close to that point (hence, “Anchoring Bias”) to the benefit of the seller. Cool, huh?

This was just a taste*, you can read the full article for more biases that most (if not all) of us have.

This is life at esyringe.

*I’m not paid or even asked to write these blog posts about McKinsey Quarterly. We’re not affiliated in any way. I just happen to like their stuff, and it’s usually backed with very good research and evidence, so I write about it. 
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About life at esyringe

Life at esyringe is about the inner workings of a small business based in Washington State. Get a good laugh or some introspection at lifeatesyringe.wordpress.com The company sells syringes online, hence 'esyringe'. No, not syringes you would put in a vein, but syringes that go into larger machines for analyzing blood and chemical compounds.
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