Status Quo Bias

In behavioral economics, we can observe how people choose to pay more attention to what they already have. In other words, loss aversion motivates people to stick with what they have. [Sources: 6]

In other words, people don’t like uncertainty and don’t want to make choices. Rather than taking the risk of trying an unknown drug that may have unknown effects, people choose to stick with what they know, even if it’s potentially not as good as the alternatives. [Sources: 6, 11]

The addiction to the status quo forces people to keep their financial situation as it is now, instead of risking an improvement in their financial prospects. A shift in the status quo is evident when people choose to keep things the same, doing nothing (see also inertia) or sticking to a previously made decision (Samuelson & Zeckhauser, 1988). [Sources: 2, 11]

This can happen even when there is little transition cost and the importance of the decision is very high. For example, a person may decide to maintain their current situation due to the potential transition costs of switching to an alternative. When making important choices, people are more likely to choose the option that keeps things as they are. Conversely, if you destabilize their preferences, you increase their willingness to change. [Sources: 2, 3, 11, 12]

One such phenomenon is the impact of expected regret; status quo bias is a strategy to reduce regret5. The status quo-so regret our decision. This is due to the concept of choice overload, which shows that a larger set of choices leads us to make worse decisions6. In fact, some people might argue that the status quo bias is not at all eligible for decision-making; some researchers classify this bias as a form of avoiding decision-making. 7 When there are various options and you are not sure which is the best, choosing default values ​​can be a way to avoid decision-making pressure. solution. This may jeopardize our decision-making ability and prevent us from choosing the most profitable option due to fear of failure. [Sources: 1, 5]

Even when a new option or choice is proposed, we tend to stick with the default option. If we stick to current decisions to avoid the cost of making decisions, then this can be seen as a rational choice, since we save on computational costs. When making decisions, people tend to consider the more valuable option when they have chosen it. [Sources: 3, 6, 10]

One explanation is that in order for individuals to change course to adapt to their current situation, this means that alternatives must be considered twice as beneficial. The answer is simple. People will naturally find that change is expensive, dangerous, and risky. This may be a form of risk aversion inherent in the status quo bias: people who do not want to lose their current reality will choose to stay, even at the cost of living in reality rather than virtual reality. [Sources: 0, 12]

Research shows that when people make a decision, they weigh potential losses more than potential gains. On the contrary, they are more willing to continue the path they have chosen, even if the alternative is objectively better. Whether you realize it or not, you are naturally inclined to choose the path of least resistance in decision-making. [Sources: 3, 12]

It is much easier and safer to stick with your current course of action than to risk something new. Change can be intimidating to many people, which is why many prefer things to stay the way they are. [Sources: 11, 12]

Indeed, through a series of daily decisions such as moving or changing a car, or even changing TV channels, there is a noticeable tendency to maintain the status quo and refrain from action (1). It is in these cases, where the decision conflicts with the surrogates’ preferences to act in the patient’s best interests or to fulfill the patient’s wishes, and when the decision is therefore irrational, that a status quo bias may be the culprit. Once life-sustaining treatment has begun, clinicians can address the effects of status quo bias by recognizing signs of neglect bias, empathizing with surrogate mothers who express or imply concerns about stopping supportive care, and then feel responsible or blameworthy for the death of patients. … [Sources: 5, 9]

The results of this study indicate that there may be a status quo bias in the stated choice studies, especially with regard to drugs that patients must take on a daily basis, such as the maintenance drugs for asthma. One study found that when people are given a choice between their current drug and an even better drug, people are biased in choosing their current drug. In an open-choice study among asthma patients taking prescription maintenance drugs, there is an experiment to determine if there is a status quo bias towards current drugs, even when better alternatives are offered. [Sources: 4, 11]

Acceptance bias was observed in tests of high but not low difficulty, resulting in suboptimal selection behavior. This default bias was observed in 13 out of 16 subjects and, more importantly, resulted in suboptimal behavior choices. The addiction to the status quo was even more evident in older participants, as they chose to keep their initial investments rather than change them as new information emerged. [Sources: 4, 9]

The status quo bias is explained by a number of psychological principles, including loss aversion, sunk cost, cognitive dissonance, and simple exposure. Status quo bias The classic human decision-making model is the rational choice or “rational actor” model, the idea that people will choose the option that is most likely to satisfy their preferences. When faced with a choice, it is not always obvious which decision will be correct. [Sources: 1, 3, 5]

The status quo bias must be distinguished from the rational preference for the status quo, for example, when the current state of affairs is objectively superior to available alternatives, or when incomplete information is a serious problem. For example, prejudice is often used to explain why people do not take advantage of investment and savings opportunities. David Gal and Derek Rucker disputed the interpretation of loss aversion to the status quo bias. They argued that the evidence of loss aversion (that is, the tendency to avoid loss rather than seeking profit) and the inertial tendency (the tendency to avoid interference rather than interfere with the course of things). [Sources: 4, 11]

In addition to the significant main effect of status quo bias in all four experiments, we show that consciousness and an internal locus of control, as well as the presence of self-interest, significantly reduce susceptibility to status quo bias. Since the modulating parameters (in this case, the effect of the default deviation) in DCM are expressed as a fraction of baseline connectivity, we conclude that the default deviation induces prefrontal STN dynamics that is largely absent when the status quo persists. Analysis of actual connectivity showed that the inferior frontal cortex, a more active area for difficult decision-making, had an increased modulating effect on the STN during the transition from the status quo. [Sources: 7, 9]


— Slimane Zouggari


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