It was the first semester of my clinical psychology graduate program when I was sitting in class listening to my professor share research studies explaining human behavior. As I was madly taking notes and fascinated by what was being said, I kept thinking, “Why do I have to get a Ph.D. to learn this? Everyone would benefit from this information.”
As a speaker and coach, much of what I do is educate. Psychology is defined as “the study of behavior,” and by applying what research tells us into our everyday lives, we can optimize our behaviors at work and in our personal lives. So, whether it is being more productive, more impactful or more effective, psychological principles can help you excel.
As such, this purpose of this blog, overall, is to provide you with psychological insights that will not only be intriguing but also (if you use the information) assist you in to be an even better you.
In this article, let’s look at the Choice-Support Bias.
Choice-Support Bias refers to the tendency to feel positive about a choice you made, even if there is evidence that contradicts that perspective. That is, once you make a decision, you only see the positive support for your choice.
How does this play out in your life? Ever wonder why it is so darn hard to throw away those clothes in your closet that you haven’t worn in years (even the ones with the tags)? Choice-Support Bias is playing a role. You made the decision to buy them, so your subconscious is convinced that was a good choice. And yet you fashion sense tells you not to put them on your body.
How does this play out at work? Here are some examples:
- You hire someone to join your team. Your focus then rests on what they are doing well (why it’s a good choice), even if he is struggling. You justify “He is just growing into the position) rather than objectively assessing how good of a fit they are.
- At a meeting, you openly agree with an opinion that is given. Afterwards a colleague comes into your office to offer their thoughts, which go against what you expressed. Your focus is on why you are right and your colleague is wrong, rather than really listening to the information they are sharing.
- You make a leadership decision that will impact your team, business unit or company. While implementing the change, there are multiple hurdles that arise. Rather than re-think your decision, you stick to your “guns” and refute any evidence contradicting your assessment.
Note: the antidote to Choice-Support Bias is not to consistently second-guess decisions. It is to be open to new information that comes up after you have made a choice.
Where have you seen Choice-Support Bias play a role in the workplace or in one’s personal life? Share with us below (no need to name the culprit ☺ )