Cognitive biases: How they can ruin your Jointly experience and what you can do about it
We humans are not as smart as we like to think we are. It’s one of the most important things we can realize about ourselves. In fact, our brains are unreliable in many well-documented and predictable ways. Savvy businesspeople, marketers and politicians exploit those flaws in all of us.
But, it’s not all bad news. If we are aware of these flaws, we have a fighting chance of overcoming them – or at least being aware of when they might be influencing our thinking without our conscious consent.
Why are we talking about this?
Jointly can help you identify products that may be effective at helping you achieve your goals, based on the real experiences of other people like you. But everyone has a unique endocannabinoid system, so you can’t be sure that a product that works well for one person will work the same way for you.
With Jointly, you can find out what is working for you and what isn’t, determine your optimal dose, minimize any side effects, and learn how the quality of your cannabis experience can be impacted by sleep, hydration, exercise, diet, and more.
But cognitive biases and error in your thinking can hamper your results. To get the maximum benefits from Jointly and from your cannabis experience, here are some things to watch out for:
This is a big one. The confirmation bias is the idea that people seek out information and data that confirms their pre-existing ideas and opinions. Do you want the tincture you are using to help improve your sleep? Of course you do. You need help sleeping. You paid good money for the tincture. It was recommended by your friend. The packaging and name are attractive and convincing. But, unfortunately, all of that can influence your evaluation of how well the tincture actually is working. You may rate it highly because you believed it would work, not because it did. And that might prevent you from discovering another product that would have worked better.
As you use Jointly, you might start to see, for example, you are having better experiences when ingesting your edibles on a full stomach rather than empty. How many data points do you need before you can believe it’s statistically significant? It’s hard to say – but we know the more ratings you submit the better your information will get. So, as you’re using cannabis and reporting on your results, don’t be swayed by small sample sizes. You might just be seeing evidence that confirms your pre-existing ideas.
What can you do? You have to evaluate the products and methods you are using as dispassionately as you can. Your ratings are for you, but they are also used by everyone else to improve their experience. We can each just do our best by providing an honest report.
The Halo Effect
The halo effect is a cognitive bias in which our overall impression of a person influences how we think and feel about specific aspects of their character. One example of this is in how we perceive celebrities. Since we perceive them as attractive, successful and likeable, we also tend to think they are intelligent, honest and kind.
Unfortunately (except for them), this cognitive bias is why celebrities make big money endorsing products. Are the products with the best endorsements the best products for you? They might be. But it’s wise to be careful in how you evaluate a product when you might have been influenced by a celebrity endorsement. Especially if you really like or admire that particular celebrity.
Herd mentality is a term from the world of finance. It refers to investors’ tendency to follow other investors and copy what they are doing, instead of being guided by their own independent analysis.
How can this affect you while using Jointly? Let’s say you identify a particular blueberry chocolate that is highly rated for your goal of relaxation. So you go to your local dispensary and pick some up. But the ratings on Jointly are only suggestive of the best products for you. The product that works for someone else might not be the product that works best for you. It’s likely to be. But it’s not a sure thing.
That is why Jointly provides you with the tools you need to be guided by your own independent analysis. Don’t follow the herd. I mean the herd is usually headed in the right general direction and we’re probably all better off sticking together, but don’t follow the herd blindly with your head down.
The representativeness heuristic is a cognitive bias that happens when people falsely believe that if two objects are similar then they are also correlated with each other. But this is not necessarily the case. Just because a brand of cannabis makes a great flower doesn’t mean they make a great cookie. And just because a brand makes a great capsule doesn’t mean they’d make a great bath bomb.
When you are rating items on Jointly, don’t be lured in by this heuristic.
The Narrative Fallacy
The narrative fallacy occurs because we like stories. We like stories that make sense and that we can relate to something already inside of us. But that means we can be prone to choose less effective products because they have a better story behind them. And what do we mean by story? Branding. A brand is a story.
So, if you feel especially drawn into the story of the brand of the product you are using, be especially skeptical of your ability to rate their products effectively. Now, it could be that a brand with a really good story also has the most effective products. But that’s not necessarily true.
How Jointly Can Help Put Bias Aside and Choose the Right Product for You
Using Jointly may help you ignore the bias and find the right product that was meant to meet your unique needs. Whether it’s the form of cannabis you use, the brand, what time of day you take it, a multitude of factors – Jointly will help you assess the possibilities in a data driven way, without bias.
However, given bias is never completely avoidable, it’s important to evaluate products and methods you are using as dispassionately as you can. Your ratings are for you, but they are also used by everyone else to improve their experience. We can each just do our best to provide an honest report.
At Jointly, we’re not cognitive scientists. So, if you see something we’ve gotten wrong, let us know – we love updating our opinions when presented with new information. It’s one of our core values.