During the past year, which has been very special, we have been studying intensively and creating new partnerships.

Unconscious bias


We are about to launch an important project on the subject of unconscious bias, heuristics, illusions and fallacies, together with our partner BB7. It is a game to learn in a fun way how to recognise our thought processes and avoid their traps. Through the game, behavioural economics becomes fun and nothing will ever be the same again!

We will also be blogging about this matter, in particular we will share one bias, one illusion, one effect per week, to explore this fascinating topic.

We could have started with the best known ones, anchoring, stereotypes, the Dunning-Kruger effect… but the Barnum effect is one of the ones that made us laugh the most during the months of preparation for the game, so we think it’s a great start!

The Barnum effect


Have you ever read your horoscope and said “but it’s really me, it really is, it’s talking about my personality exactly!”. Underlying this reaction are two different biases: personalisation bias (believing that something that is written in a newspaper or on a website is aimed specifically at us) and selection bias (the phrases in the horoscope are sufficiently general and positive that we want to believe them. The Barnum effect could also be the one that makes us believe that our personality matches the profile of a test.  Even tests that are widely used in business, such as the MBTI, according to neuroscientist Albert Moukheiber have no scientific validity, because if they are replicated they do not yield the same results. The Barnum effect leads us to believe that our personality is described in depth, but in reality it is a third type of bias, that of authority, which makes us believe the words of the psychologist or consultant who is communicating the result to us.

This effect is also used by readers of tarot cards, cards, coffee grounds and so on, but not only: companies such as Netflix and Spotify also use it to make us believe that the service is personalised, that it is made just for us.

In order to avoid falling into this trap, it is important to activate rational thought and ask ourselves how it is possible that, for example, given the number of Aries reading the newspaper at that moment, the horoscope talks about our day. 🙂


Photo credit Alessandra Vitelli Illustratrice