Cultural Relevance

Information Bias

Information bias, studied by Baron, Beattie and Hershey (1988), is the tendency we have to believe that the more information that can be acquired in order to make a decision, the better that decision will be, even if that extra information might be irrelevant. Indeed, we seek out information even when it cannot directly affect our actions or decisions as we simply feel as though we need all information available in order to make a good decision.

For example, Baron, Beattie and Hershey demonstrated this principle with an experiment in which they gave subjects a diagnostic problem involving fictitious symptoms, tests and diseases. The majority of test subjects decided they needed to continue gathering more information and carrying out extra tests in order to make a diagnosis when in fact they had already been given sufficient data to do so.

Information bias can be applied to web marketing to help encourage customers to pay specific attention to something or to make a certain choice. For example, the more information that you provide for a product, even if some of it seems irrelevant, the more likely that people will feel assured enough to make a purchase.

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