Tag Archives: bias

Identifying your Blind Spots: psychological influences on decision making

10 Nov

Dr Chia-Jung Tsay from UCL School of Management is also a trained musician. Her research tried to find out if we rely on visual over sound. As experts and leaders we might be unaware of how we make decisions regarding hiring, promotions, etc. You don’t believe this? Take a test here on unconscious bias.


Chia-Jung Tsay looked at the impact of visual information in individual performance, leadership and group performance. We are all vulnerable to psychological inclinations of this kind.

Initial findings:

  • Reported reliance on sound
  • Non-conscious dependence on vision
  • Sound discarded as noise

Why do we select certain visual winners over others? You tend to look at who was the most confident. If you are then the perception is that you are more qualified. Who was the most passionate? ‘Passion’ tends to be the most important factors in Chia-Jung’s research. The visual passion is so evocative, that we might hire a candidate because of that and not because of what they said.

Chia Jung’s research looked at music or pitch competitions and when people were shown the silent visual video they were able to identify the right winner. Visual was more important than the sound/content of the music or pitch competitions.

In summary:

Experts are trained and societal institutions are constructed to identify, develop, and reward the highest levels of achievement. We trust that professionals can judge performance through their specialized knowledge. Yet, experts are just as vulnerable as novices to the dominance of visual information (vision heuristic) and the influence of beliefs about the source of achievement on the perception and judgment of talent (naturalness bias). Given their effect on professional evaluation and decision-making, such biases can affect how organizations select and recruit top talent.