Salience Bias

  • behavior
  • cognitive bias

Salience Bias is the tendency to focus on more prominent or emotionally impactful items and ignore less striking items. A feature perfect product with an indistinct UI may draw fewer users than a less functional product that appeals to the user segment. Salience bias is also known as perceptual salience.

  • Accessibility and Salience Are Closely Related Accessibility and salience are closely related to availability, and they are important as well. If you have personally experienced a serious earthquake, you’re more likely to believe that an earthquake is likely than if you read about it in a weekly magazine. Thus, vivid and easily imagined causes of death (for example, tornadoes) often receive inflated estimates of probability, and less-vivid causes (for example, asthma attacks) receive low estimates, even if they occur with a far greater frequency (here, by a factor of twenty). Timing counts too: more recent events have a greater impact on our behavior, and on our fears, than earlier ones.

    Richard H. Thaler, Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness (2008-04-08)

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