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10 Areas of Life in Which the Salience Bias is Most Insidious

The salience bias states that humans have a preference for those things that stand out in an environment, regardless of whether or not those things are beneficial.

This is a good read to learn more:

    1. Social media.

    Many of us are happy to discharge private information, such as our name, address, location, personal interests, and so on, in exchange for the immediate satisfaction of getting feedback from our followers.

    2. New home shopping.

    The salience bias may be present when home selection preferences skew toward the quality/location of a neighborhood, for instance, rather than the affordability of the property.

    3. Dating.

    The salience bias is highly prominent in dating. We often select partners based on obvious physical cues while discounting other critical traits, such as intelligence and emotional capacity.

    4. Public Wi-Fi.

    We may make liberal use of a public wi-fi connection because of its ease of accessibility while ignoring the potential risks of cyber attacks and theft of personal information.

    5. Grocery shopping.

    Grocery stores take advantage of the salience bias by placing the products they prefer to sell at the front of the store, which are often unhealthy goods, where they are more easily accessed and purchased compared to their more healthy counterparts toward the back of the store.

    6. Google.

    Who hasn't searched for something on Google and left satisfied that the information gleaned from the first three results contains all the details needed to understand the topic?

    7. Electricity usage.

    Often we use electricity in our homes beyond its necessity, without noting the longer-term ramifications of this behavior to the environment - not to mention next month's electric bill.

    8. Diet.

    We might display a preference for eating the chocolate-covered vanilla cake that's sitting directly in front of us instead of more healthy fare that's further away, and hidden away, in the kitchen.

    9. Driving.

    We love to drive our vehicles (particularly here in the U.S.), as everyone has a vehicle (or two...or three...) and the road system can take us nearly anywhere. Yet, this ease of travel usually blinds us to the longer-term consequences to the environment and dependency on oil.

    10. News.

    The salience bias is often present in our news consumption. We tend to favor the medium that is our favorite, or most easily accessed. This could be a local television network, a social media channel, or a preferred podcast or radio station - often to the exclusion of other mediums that may present alternative perspectives.
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