Other Debiasing Strategies

People have sought to elicit preferred or optimal behavior in many ways and in certain, specific circumstances.

These additional debiases strategies have included:

  • Paying people for optimal behavior through bonuses or by providing discounts (e.g., to exercise, to take their medication, to trade in fuel inefficient vehicles such as the “cash for clunkers” program).
  • Taxing people for suboptimal behavior (e.g., drinking soda, smoking tobacco and marijuana).
  • Using (or implying) default options that are optimal for the decisionmaker or society.
  • Commitment devices that make it more costly to make suboptimal decisions. Jillian Michaels’s DietBet is a prime example of this method.
  • Reframing choice options in ways that make certain attributes appear more important. Labeling hamburger meat 25% fat, for example, makes people more sensitive to fat content than labeling it 75% lean.
  • Presenting information in formats that make critical information easier to evaluate, such as displaying nutritional value using a “traffic light” system.
  • Providing people with personalized feedback regarding the direction and degree to which they exhibit bias.
  • Teaching a “consider-the-alternative” strategy, such as considering a plausible alternative reason for an event than the cause one suspects.
  • Teaching people statistical reasoning and normative rules of which they may be otherwise unaware.
  • Encouraging people to take the perspective of a person who will experience the consequences of their decisions. In one study, participants who were shown a “morphed” image of their face to resemble themselves upon retirement were more likely to save money for the future rather than elect to receive it in the present.

Raising awareness helps. Check out this list of cognitive biases to learn more.

Visit the BiasBuster page for even more