Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Tendency to make associations


An association bias can be defined as: ”A tendency to connect an idea, feeling, or sensation with something other than itself.”

Different associations

There are some ways of associating ideas, feelings or sensations with other things. Causes are connected to their effects. For example, injuries are connected to fouls in sports. Things or people are connected with their properties. For example, bananas are connected to yellow. Items or people are connected to the category which they belong. For example, people are connected to stereotypes. Most often, these connections are right, but sometimes associations are completely wrong. Worst judgments come from the misunderstood cause-effect relationships.

Cause and effect associations

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is associate a success as skill, instead of luck, when you have done wrong things and still succeeded. Randomness of life creates some lucky events for all of us. This applies especially in all the games in which you make bets, for example, poker, investing, etc. There are some antidotes. You should carefully figure out why you were successful by trying to find random factors associated with success that mislead you to estimate your odds too high and to look for the dangerous aspects of the game that didn´t occur when you succeeded. You should be able to see continuity in your successes. For example, to be a good money manager, you should have significantly better than average investment returns at least from five to ten years of investing. And you should have achieved this by having invested to many different securities.

You can also associate people who give you bad news not as likeable as people who give you good news. You will probably like people who tell you what you want to hear. The people who are willing to give you bad news and explain their reasoning should be rewarded, not ridiculed or not paid attention to. You should develop a habit for listening to people who are willing to give you bad news. You should probably tell your best valued ideas for your critics.

Associations with things and their properties

Associating high price with quality of the product or service is maybe the best example. For example, luxury brands are not created without high prices. And everything about the product, the way it is sold, packaged, or designed should be consistent with a high price. Paying more doesn´t only boost buyer´s ego, it also increases his status. All the ads are designed for creating pleasant associations for the products and services. For example, you don´t normally see any people not having a good time, unless the purpose of the ad is to sell something that prevents unpleasant events.

Associations with categories

You can categorize any item, person, or service. You can create some expectations concerning on them. For example, you can think that men cannot take care of children or women cannot be company executives. Stereotypes are the most common associations of this type. You can associate people to certain stereotypes by their appearance, the language they use, or how they behave. And by inversion, you can expect people to appear, speak or behave in certain ways that are consistent with your associations. These associations with categories do not come from nowhere. They are fairly accurate, when they are related to averages in groups of items or people. Categorizing is most easily avoided by creating a habit of thinking everyone and everything as individuals.

You should design your environment in a way that the availability of the things that help you to avoid or minimize wrong associations is as easy as possible. Gather people that are willing to give you bad news or ready to give you constructive criticism. You need them. There is no way to avoid all the associations. Try to keep open mind all the time, when you have prejudices about the people or items you encounter.


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