Explaining the “primacy effect”
How this cognitive bias can improve your betting. Overnight.
In an earlier post, I used an article by Terence Tau (click here) to discuss “recency bias” and how this mental process, often a subconscious act, can cause many backers to make the wrong decision about betting… and the betting services they might subscribe to.
If you’ve not read the article, please make sure you do. It provides a quick and easy way for you to improve your betting returns. Overnight.
Now within this original article there was also a reference to another cognitive bias – as the boffins would put it.
This is a phenomenon known as the “primacy effect”.
This is another one of these tricks that your mind can play on you. Another trigger which goes off, often without any conscious thought on your part, and takes control of your actions, and your decision making… all the more so if you’re not aware of it’s existence.
So you need to know about it!!
That’s why in this post, I’m returning to another article from masterclass.com, this time written by Neil Degrasse Tyson, about this very subject.
Here’s the article…
What Is the Primacy Effect?
The “primacy effect” is a phenomenon wherein a person only remembers the first few entries in a list of items.
Psychologists include the primacy effect as part of a larger condition called the serial-position effect.
The serial-position effect describes how a person’s free recall of a long list of words or phrases will show bias toward the beginning of a list (the primacy effect) and the end of a list (the recency effect), forgetting items from the middle of the list.
Why Is It Important to Understand the Primacy Effect
Understanding the primacy effect can help you ensure that you or others remember essential information. For instance, when you want another person to remember a piece of information, you can strategically place it in the first position on a list of items; the primacy effect suggests initial items will implant in memory more easily than later items.
Advertising agencies take advantage of the primacy effect when they structure commercials and print advertisements. They may front-load important information – even beginning with the single most important message of the ad. They may also place key information at the end of advertisements which, per the recency effect, also correlates to a higher likelihood of recall.
What Causes the Primacy Effect?
In 1977, William Crano, writing in journals like Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, studied the connection between the primacy effect and the recency effect, and he found that (among other things) people paid more attention early in a presentation, which would suggest they also innately gave more focus to items at the beginning of the list.
In 1980 Dewey Rundus, writing in the journal Memory & Cognition, examined how human attempts to rehearse memorised lists may influence the primacy effect; repeatedly rereading the list from the beginning solidifies the first items in the person’s memory.
An Example of the Primacy Effect
A real-life example of the primacy effect frequently occurs in the job interview and hiring processes: A hiring manager’s first impression of a candidate plays an outsized role in whether they will offer the applicant a job. The first things you present to a potential employer – your resume, the way you dress, your initial salutation – set the tone for the overall hiring process.
The primacy effect suggests that first impressions are important factors in establishing a new relationship because they may end up being the primary thing an employer remembers about you. By putting the utmost care into the first message you send, you can use the primacy effect for your own long-term benefit.
So in this excellent and thought-provoking article – which you can read in full if you click here – you can see how primary bias, just like recency bias, can manipulate, or even corrupt, your way of thinking about a particular subject.
It also backs-up what was previously said about recency bias.
If we don’t stop, and take a moment to think about things, logically and dispassionately, we risk letting our minds work purely (and dominantly) in the here and now.
This means we don’t analyse and react to things (betting results, in this instance) as we really should.
And having worked in the betting industry for 30 years, I constantly remind myself not to get to “up” when results are good… and similarly not to get too down should results take a turn for the worst.
What I tell myself, as I repeat to members time and again, is to go back to the overall results for a service or a betting tipster. What do they tell us over the long-term?
Because it’s the long-term, not the short-term, which is most important when it comes to making money from betting.
OPINION: We all have the ability to improve our betting. And we can do this by improving the way we think about the information (in this case, the results) put before us. And if we take on board, and remember, the lessons easily learned from the study of the “primacy effect”, and recency bias, then we will all become better, and more successful, backers. So always stop and think before making decisions, and always lean towards the big data, not a small sample of results.