Availability BiasOpen Access

Availability Bias

Our judgements are heavily influenced by what comes to mind more easily

Though what naturally comes to mind is sometimes more likely, our beliefs can get heavily biased, causing poor, potentially devastating decisions.

Mamede et al. (2010). Effect of availability bias and reflective reasoning on diagnostic accuracy among internal medicine residents. Jama, 304(11).

The study

Setup

36 medical students were first asked to diagnose six clinical cases (Phase 1). They were then asked to diagnose a further eight, four of which were similar to Phase 1, but were actually different (Phase 2). Their accuracy for successful diagnosis was rated out of four.

Results

Average diagnosis scores were 17.5% lower for Phase 2 cases that were similar to those in Phase 1.

Study graph

Key Takeaways

Create pre-experiences.

During product development sessions, prime attendees with prototypes to first tell a detailed story of an imagined future. This will increase innovative ideas by reducing both incremental thinking  (Liedtka, 2015) and inferior ideas brought about through Ownership Bias and any Sunk Costs.  

Takeaway image

Conduct reflective reviews.

After results are in from product experiments, reviewing the specific causes behind both failures and successes is critical. This will help you understand any assumptions or misdiagnosis brought about by merely relying on what comes easily to mind (Ellis and Davidi, 2005). 

Takeaway image

Include real customers in retrospectives.

Combining reflective reviews with real customer feedback will boost team performance (Schollaert, 2009) and help suppress the perils of your team's own Confirmation Bias.

Takeaway image
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Availability Bias

Availability Bias

Our judgements are heavily influenced by what comes to mind more easily

Though what naturally comes to mind is sometimes more likely, our beliefs can get heavily biased, causing poor, potentially devastating decisions.

The study

Setup

36 medical students were first asked to diagnose six clinical cases (Phase 1). They were then asked to diagnose a further eight, four of which were similar to Phase 1, but were actually different (Phase 2). Their accuracy for successful diagnosis was rated out of four.

Results

Average diagnosis scores were 17.5% lower for Phase 2 cases that were similar to those in Phase 1.

study graph
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