Judgment errors in e-commerce

My colleague, Dr. Ravi Paul, and I need your help.  In a our latest research project, we need a list the potential judgment errors that may infect e-commerce initiatives. These biases cause errors in judgement and stem from a number of sources. Three types of judgment errors in particular we want help with – perception-based errors, memory-based errors, and strategic-based errors.

Perception-based errors

Biases based on perception errors often reflect a skewed view of reality.  Instead of seeing the world accurately, the skew – whether slight or severe, impacts the judgment.  Sometimes even slight skews can vastly change the judgment. For example, anchoring bias suggests that humans tend to favor the first piece of information when making decisions. All subsequent decisions are based off (anchored to) that first piece of information.

Memory-based errors

Biases based on memory errors reflect a skew towards what’s in our memory already. Many of our decisions are based on things we have observed before.  We make instantaneous associations between the new judgment and our memories. But sometimes, our memories are not accurate so the association is not accurate, leading to poor judgments. Confirmation bias is one of the more well-known biases in this genera. In confirmation bias, an individual tends to search for, interpret, and recall information that confirms their pre-existing belief, rather than contradicts it.

Strategic-based errors

Often caused due to lack of time, strategy based errors reflect a decision maker’s use of sub-optimal strategies for solving a problem. Often the decision maker knows there are better strategies, but estimates that the time saved from using a sub-optimal strategy out weighs the cost of lost accuracy.   But the decision maker can make errors in this estimate.

Help with identifying errors

Where do Dr. Paul and I need your help?  We need help in identifying instances where these errors occur in e-commerce initiatives.  Whether you are a marketer, IT professional, graphic designer, or manager, tell us your stories.  Tell us when you have observed one of these types of errors, either in your own thinking or in the thinking of those around you.

Ultimately, we hope to institute debiasing techniques in our classes to help limit these judgment errors in the future.  But before we can debias, we have to know what exists.  Your help can get us there.

Thank you!


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