To stay focused, we favor the immediate, relatable thing in front of us
We value stuff more in the present than in the future, and relate more to stories of specific individuals than anonymous individuals or groups. I’m surprised there aren’t more biases found under this one, considering how much it impacts how we think about the world.
Appeal to Novelty (Argumentum Ad Novitatem)
A fallacy in which one prematurely claims that an idea or proposal is correct or superior, exclusively because it is new and modern.
Given two similar rewards, humans show a preference for one that arrives sooner rather than later. Humans are said to discount the value of the later reward by a factor that increases with the length of the delay. According to hyperbolic discounting, valuations fall relatively rapidly for earlier delay periods (as in, from now to one week) but then fall more slowly for longer delay periods (for instance, more than a week). Read More.
Example. In a study subjects said they would be indifferent between receiving $15 immediately or $30 after 3 months, $60 after 1 year, or $100 after 3 years.
Identifiable Victim Effect
The tendency of individuals to offer greater aid when a specific identifiable person (“victim”) is observed under hardship, as compared to a large vaguely defined group with the same need. The effect is also observed when subjects administer punishment rather than reward. Research has shown that individuals can be more likely to mete out punishment, even at their own expense, when they are punishing specific, identifiable individuals.
Example. “A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.” – Joseph Stalin
- To avoid mistakes, we aim to preserve autonomy and group status and avoid irreversible decisions
- We favor simple-looking options and complete information over complex, ambiguous options
- To act, we must be confident we can make an impact and feel what we do is important
- To get things done, we tend to complete things we’ve time & energy in