Cognitive Bias: 2 of 25 Liking/Loving Tendency

Liking/Loving Tendency is definitely one of my favorite biases, it’s an important one to be aware of. There’s so much psychology behind this bias because the power of love is strong. There’s a loophole in the brain where you will overlook certain flaws if you like or love a certain person, item, job, belief, etc. Your brain will literally block out certain details or trick yourself to believe that these flaws are acceptable. The reason your brain does this is because humans yearn for the feeling you get from being liked or loved. People want to be accepted. Love’s a strong feeling. It’ll overpower your common-sense. Awareness of this bias will save you a lot of headaches throughout your life.

Marketing campaigns use this bias all the time. Have you ever purchased something because a celebrity you loved was in a commercial? Ever overlook a product issue because you love a specific brand? It has happened to me quite a few times (more than I thought when I reflected back). This is a genius strategy to increase sales. For example, the brand Apple has a cult like following. I recently purchased an iPhone and it’s pretty nice. But man there are some Apple fanatics out there! Apple hasn’t come out with fantastic laptops recently, but their dedicated following continues to buy them even when there are cheaper, better performing options out there.

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Where You See this Bias the Most

Family members and lovers are the ones that enforce this bias on us the most. Now don’t get me wrong no one is perfect! The goal of this post isn’t to force you to focus on the shallow flaws of everyone you know. That way of thinking can encourage emotional abuse. This bias does have the power to keep you in abusive relationships. These relationships are complicated of course, but this bias is a contributing factor.  It’s important to recognize that negatives in a relationship may outweigh the positives. You should never stay in a relationship that you’re unhappy with, even if you were happy at one point. This bias may cause you to ignore your better judgement. This situation may also apply to family members. Sometimes things just don’t click. Don’t force yourself to put up with something if it’s making you miserable.

Examples of Liking/Loving Tendency

Here is my favorite example of this bias- I love sharing it with people. I have experienced and witnessed numerous times where people overlook the flaws of their jobs for a specific reason. We put up with being temporarily miserable because we like or love something that we don’t want to lose. I experienced this myself with the team I worked with. The owners of the company I worked for were highly unethical people. They treated employees poorly, would bait and switch employees, take away pay, etc.  I originally overlooked this because I loved my team so much! They were some of the nicest, hardworking people I have ever worked with. This was enough for me to overlook the unethical nature of this family owned business. It happens all the time. Awareness of this bias will allow you to recognize these situations and act to prevent suffering. I realized I needed to leave when I reflected on all the teams I worked on in the past. You’ll always work with great people. Very rarely will your coworkers and team not be amazing people. There are great people everywhere you go!

I just read the book about Elon Musk. It’s fascinating to me how many people follow him and believe in him. He works people to the bone and demands greatness. He’s an overlord throughout his companies and if you don’t conform to his wishes you are minced meat. People love working for him because his cause is so powerful. His employees know that their work life balance is way off but they overlook it. They love Elon (for the most part) but more so his causes. They want to make an impact on the world. They like or love the cause so much that they will suffer in other areas of their lives.

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I have a theory that the reason that people don’t act on these flaws more is because the fear of change. People hate change. It baffles me how much people hate it. I think that this fear of change enhances this bias. Both of those act as mental blockages that you put up with until the tipping point occurs. Love and fear are some powerful feelings!

Don’t Fall Victim

Awareness of this bias will help you avoid falling victim to these situations. Ever since I became aware of this bias I see it everywhere. Just look out for it and you’ll see it too. Slow down and listen to your instincts, add time to decisions. Time will allow your brain to process information more efficiently. If you have that gut feeling that something isn’t right, listen to it. Love is difficult to overcome but know that you’ll be liked or loved again. It’s the circle of life. It’s imperative to remember that certain flaws are alright! Don’t be a perfectionist. Finally, talk it out with someone. Talking over a decision with a loved one or friend that can see the situation from afar can help you make better decisions. When you are you are in the forest all you can see are trees. When you are away from the forest you can see the whole picture. While this all applies to the liking/loving tendency it works in opposite fashion with disliking/hating tendencies.

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Be great,

Cody Cameron