Suffering from: Disconfirmation Bias?

We all love detective shows where the driven, incorruptible, sleep-deprived 'tec shows the baddies the incontrovertible proof. Even then, the baddies shake their heads in disbelief.

by Helen Kirwan-Taylor
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

This is what marketing men call 'disconfirmation bias', the absolute unwillingness of some people to accept that they're wrong even though everyone in the room - or everyone in the whole company - knows they are. DB proves what we already know to be true, that people will do almost anything but admit fault. However, a very shrewd operator can use this to his advantage. People don't like to be criticised or humiliated, so the best way to get them to agree that they're wrong (and suffering from DB) is by gently suggesting that they go away and consider the awkward facts which prove their pet theory wrong. Chances are that the individual in question will shortly return with a brand-new, less flawed and perhaps even brilliant version of the original idea.

- Contact Helen Kirwan-Taylor at

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