Most people like to believe that they consistently make fair judgements and statements, free of bias and prejudgment. However, as psychological research has evidenced, time and time again, no one is immune from cognitive bias.
Everyone would benefit from becoming more aware of these biases, but
for professional researchers, this is absolutely imperative. Of course, it is the researcher’s responsibility to be aware of, and (where possible) to mitigate the effect of any known biases, to gather an honest read on feelings and opinions. This is important to achieve good quality feedback, to provide reasonable and gainful orientation and make clear and appropriate client recommendations.
Beyond the opportunity to mitigate or reduce bias effects, we might seek to harness these natural tendencies for the benefits of our research. It is also important to remember that we, as researchers, now live in an age where we are effectively bargaining for people’s time and attention against a variety of competing sources. Hence, where appropriate and ethical, we might further consider opportunities to activate or control these biases, to enhance levels of research commitment and motivation. Enjoy!