False Consensus Effect

False Consensus Effect

What is it?

False Consensus is a bias that makes people believe that extended groups of people share the same beliefs.

False consensus is a psychological phenomenon where people overestimate the extent to which others share their opinions, beliefs, or behaviors. In other words, individuals tend to believe that their views or actions are more common or popular than they actually are. This bias occurs because people often surround themselves with like-minded individuals, which can create an echo chamber effect and lead them to assume that their perspective is the norm.

Here are two simple examples to help you understand false consensus:

  1. Political views: Imagine you hold strong opinions about a particular political issue, and most of your friends and family members share your views. You might assume that the majority of people in your country or region also share the same perspective, when in reality, public opinion might be much more diverse or even lean in the opposite direction.

  2. Food pReferences: Let's say you're a vegetarian and have many vegetarian friends. You might overestimate the number of vegetarians in the general population, believing it to be more common than it is, because your immediate social circle reflects your dietary choices.

Being aware of the false consensus effect ...