I am considering buying new Mac. But before I do, I wanted to check some of my biases (17 of them), and once I’ve done that, I’ll make my decision.
Having bought Macs in the past, I am inclined to continue. Not to do so would risk admitting to myself that I had been mistaken, and I don’t like that. (Fazio et al, 1992).
I am far less likely to feel remorse if I stick with things as they are, than if I change course. For the same reason, if I were mugged while on my regular route to work I will not blame the route. But if I were mugged while on an unusual route to work, I would partly blame the new route. (Daniel Khanamen’s Propect Theory.)
I have told friends that I prefer Macs. This makes me very reluctant to change course and look a fool. (Shlenker et al, in 1955)
I paid a premium for my Macs. I believe that things I know nothing about are better if they cost more. Often, it is the only way I can tell if a product is better.
Not everyone can afford Macs, and that makes them a status symbol. People will think more highly of me if I own a Mac.
Most Hollywood actors use Macs, especially the successful, clever, good-looking heroes. I am influenced by what successful, good-looking people do.
My peers have Macs. I am influenced by my peers. (Hans Christian Andersen @1837)
I have heard that Macs have ‘a better operating system’. I don’t know what an ‘operating system’ is, and have no way of knowing if they are right, but I believe experts, because they have authority. (Stanley Milgram, 1964.)
I don’t associate Apple with words like multi-national, corporate, greed and profit. I associate the company with jeans, trainers, and creativity. The fact that Apple is one of the richest companies the world has ever known, is less present in my mind than the image of friendly geeks in trainers.
Hang on, going back to the stuff about experts a second… actually, I don’t really know if the majority of experts think Macs are best, because I haven’t done a proper survey. Instead, I bring to mind of a few random instances. This is because of the Availability Heuristic, which means I tend only to notice the information that is most readily to hand. For the same reason, I think Britain is getting more violent, because I read about crimes in newspapers. (qv. Stephen Pinker.)
When I get some information about Macs being good, I notice it. I give more attention to evidence which supports my opinions, than evidence which doesn’t. This is because of Confirmation Bias.
I have tried using PCs. I find them tricky. Of course, I want to find them tricky, because it confirms my decision to buy Macs. The fact that PC users find Macs just as tricky, is something I ignore.
Steve Jobs was charismatic, and I trust charismatic people. Especially dead ones.
Macs look good. I ascribe one characteristic (looks) to an unrelated characteristic (technical superiority) because of the Halo Effect (Thorndike, 1920).
I heard that Macs exploit people in the third world. But while my peers avoid Starbucks (for the lesser sin of tax avoidance) no one I know boycotts Apple Store, so I think the company can’t be that bad. Besides, I don’t believe people who are famous can be very bad, or someone would have done something about them. (The Jimmy Savile Effect)
Another reason I don’t think Apple can be a bad company is because that might make me a bad person for buying Macs, and I don’t think I am a bad person. I can think in this circular way because of a handy fellow called Dissonance Reduction.
Macs keep getting better. This makes me dissatisfied with the one I have and makes me want to buy a new one. I don’t expect bananas to keep getting better, but if they did, I’m sure I would start feeling dissatisfied with the ones I usually buy. (Unless my Status Quo Bias was stronger).
Well, that’s the list over. You might think that this is all about me and my own biases. In fact, I am not influenced by any of the biases above. This is because, like you, I think I am cleverer than the average person, and so I can ignore the biases that affect everyone else. This is because of the Wobegone Effect. (But actually, of course, unlike you, I am impervious to the Wobegone Effect.)
I’m off to the Apple Store.
And now the commercial: (At least read the reviews?)