Conformity Bias

One way we can work to overcome our BlindSpots is by using them to encourage positive behavior.  Take Conformity Bias for example.  It no longer becomes a negative (or a bias) when people use it to conform to good behavior.  See the example below and think about the questions.  Please share with your team and coworkers.

The Situation

  • California is facing its worst drought in recorded history (46% of the state is in an exceptional drought)
  • Gov. Jerry Brown issued historic water restrictions for all private residences, mandating a 25% cut in water use state wide
  • People have started to use social media and the hash-tag #droughtshaming to publicly call out Californians who aren’t following the water restrictions—“water wasters"
  • An environmental historian at UCLA states, “When we are in crisis, everyone blames everyone else…People say: ‘I’m doing enough, but my neighbors aren’t.’”

The BlindSpot

This is a strong example of people using Conformity Bias (or peer pressure) to urge people to do the right thing and follow the drought restrictions in order to help the environment.

Our Question to You is…

  • Can you think of additional ways that Conformity Bias creates positive influence?
  • In what ways can you use Conformity Bias to influence positive, ethical behavior in your workplace?
  • In your personal life?

Sources

  • http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/04/23/droughtshaming-water-vigilantes-in-calif-humiliate-wasteful-neighbors/
  • http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/may/16/california-drought-shaming-takes-on-a-class-conscious-edge
  • http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/05/25/409522056/in-california-technology-makes-droughtshaming-easier-than-ever
  • http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/california-drought-shaming-soc/47676699