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Information Bias

 

Explanations > Theories > Information Bias

Description | Research | Example | So What? | See also | References 

 

Description

When we are trying to make a decision, we generally seek data on which to rationally base the choice. Where this goes wrong, is when we assume that all information is useful, and that 'more is better'.

Sometimes, extra information adds no significant value. Sometimes it simply serves to confuse.

Research

Baron, Beattie, and Hershey (1988), gave subjects a diagnostic problem involving fictitious symptoms, tests and diseases. Many subjects said they would need additional tests even when they had sufficient data.

Example

A manager gets consultants to do a study of the marketplace when a third party report is already available at far less cost.

So What?

Using it

When you want people to pay attention to your information, even when they have other information you may well be able to present it, for example as 'new findings'.

You can also deliberately create overload by encouraging people to seek more and more data.

Defending

Think first about what information you need and go for that which is just sufficient and necessary.

See also

Information Processing Theory, Involvement

References

Baron, Beattie, and Hershey (1988)

 

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