Our brains encourage us to trust rich people. Here's how.

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Howard Schultz, former CEO of Starbucks, speaks at Purdue University West Lafayette, Ind., Thursday, February 7, 2019. (AP Photo / Michael Conroy)

In 2015, when Donald Trump announced his candidacy for the presidency of the United States, he quickly became a serious contender, beating politicians with years of political experience like Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush. This is a turning point that has surprised many people, with no military experience and an extremely polarizing political platform. Despite his inexperience, Trump beat Democratic presidential candidate Hilary Clinton in the majority of states. Voters have been swayed by its promise to create jobs and support the economy.

Last month, in anticipation of the 2020 election, Howard Schultz, former CEO of Starbucks, tweeted that he was considering "seriously" to run for president as an independent candidate. His qualifications? Like Trump, there are few who prepare him for the US presidency – aside from being a naturally born citizen with enough money to launch a national campaign.

The fact that the media covered Schultz so quickly implies that his tweets have some credibility. But the instant credibility of someone without political experience is a curious thing. Why are voters and the media so quick to believe and trust rich people – especially wealthy white men?

"There are three well-known cognitive biases that come into play in such situations," said Dr. Peggy Sue Loroz, a consumer psychologist and marketing professor at Gonzaga University. The first, she explained, is called the "halo effect". In other words, when we see a person with a positive quality, we tend to attribute other positive qualities to them (often unrelated). "When we have limited information about a person, our brain tries to quickly fill in the blanks and make sense of a situation," Loroz said.

Success can also be the same, said Loroz: "If we know the success of someone, we can also assume that he must be smart, impartial and politically savvy. We know something positive about them, so the others must also be reported. "

The second cognitive bias is called the effect of mere exposure, a phenomenon in which people develop a preference for things only because they are familiar to them.

"Schultz or Trump, they are better known than other political candidates," said Loroz. "Our brains do not do the hard work of evaluating experiences and being cautious in our judgment of others. Our brain is simply saying, well, I know this person and I feel more comfortable.

The effect of mere exposure could also explain why the actress and media magnificence Oprah Winfrey is implicitly credited with her, and why her recommendations from the Book Club and Favorite Things are systematically selling like hotcakes through her influence. Loroz said, "With Oprah, she's a rich person and this could influence our perception of her from the halo point of view. But we also know it very well because it happens every day at the fans. We feel that we have a real connection with her. "

The third bias is called the fundamental error of attribution. When they examine a person's success, consumers tend to overlook the situational factors that led to his success and attribute everything to the person himself. Donald Trump, for example, was born into a wealthy family and offered some of that wealth to create his first business. But, thanks to the fundamental attribution error, people attribute his wealth to his intelligence and intelligence.

Worse: not only do consumers tend to think that the rich are inherently more trustworthy because of the "halo effect" and other cognitive biases, but that the opposite is true also true. Nicknamed "the horn effect," people tend to clump together and amplify the perceived negative traits of a person. A study, published in Frontiers in Psychology, found that people were more likely to trust those they considered conventionally attractive, and less likely to trust those they considered ugly. Research also shows that "unattractive defendants" have longer and heavier sentences than criminals with conventional appeal.

Fortunately, according to Loroz, our cognitive prejudices do not hold the whole tour of the show: if consumers are highly motivated, it is time to properly evaluate their decisions, whether in the booth or in supermarkets, which is less likely. take into account in their choice. But people who make less risky decisions, or decisions in which they are not personally invested, could use "the credibility or attractiveness of a celebrity endorsement as a shortcut to scrutinize the information very carefully," he said. declared Loroz.

From reading club recommendations to presidential platforms, it seems like our brain is constantly trying to get us to follow the example of the rich, regardless of what they're selling. The solution? Take your time before making a decision, do your research and pay attention to who you trust.

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Howard Schultz, former CEO of Starbucks, speaks at Purdue University West Lafayette, Ind., Thursday, February 7, 2019. (AP Photo / Michael Conroy)

In 2015, when Donald Trump announced his candidacy for the presidency of the United States, he quickly became a serious contender, beating politicians with years of political experience like Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush. This is a turning point that has surprised many people, with no military experience and an extremely polarizing political platform. Despite his inexperience, Trump beat Democratic presidential candidate Hilary Clinton in the majority of states. Voters have been swayed by its promise to create jobs and support the economy.
Last month, in anticipation of the 2020 election, Howard Schultz, former CEO of Starbucks, tweeted that he was considering "seriously" to run for president as an independent candidate. His qualifications? Like Trump, there are few who prepare him for the US presidency – aside from being a naturally born citizen with enough money to launch a national campaign.
The fact that the media covered Schultz so quickly implies that his tweets have some credibility. But the instant credibility of someone without political experience is a curious thing. Why are voters and the media so quick to believe and trust rich people – especially wealthy white men?

"There are three well-known cognitive biases that come into play in such situations," said Dr. Peggy Sue Loroz, a consumer psychologist and marketing professor at Gonzaga University. The first, she explained, is called the "halo effect". In other words, when we see a person with a positive quality, we tend to attribute other positive qualities to them (often unrelated). "When we have limited information about a person, our brain tries to quickly fill in the blanks and make sense of a situation," Loroz said.
Success can also be the same, said Loroz: "If we know the success of someone, we can also assume that he must be smart, impartial and politically savvy. We know something positive about them, so the others must also be reported. "

The second cognitive bias is called the effect of mere exposure, a phenomenon in which people develop a preference for things only because they are familiar to them.
"Schultz or Trump, they are better known than other political candidates," said Loroz. "Our brains do not do the hard work of evaluating experiences and being cautious in our judgment of others. Our brain is simply saying, well, I know this person and I feel more comfortable.
The effect of mere exposure could also explain why the actress and media magnificence Oprah Winfrey is implicitly credited with her, and why her recommendations from the Book Club and Favorite Things are systematically selling like hotcakes through her influence. Loroz said, "With Oprah, she's a rich person and this could influence our perception of her from the halo point of view. But we also know it very well because it happens every day at the fans. We feel that we have a real connection with her. "
The third bias is called the fundamental error of attribution. When they examine a person's success, consumers tend to overlook the situational factors that led to his success and attribute everything to the person himself. Donald Trump, for example, was born into a wealthy family and offered some of that wealth to create his first business. But, thanks to the fundamental attribution error, people attribute his wealth to his intelligence and intelligence.
Worse: not only do consumers tend to think that the rich are inherently more trustworthy because of the "halo effect" and other cognitive biases, but that the opposite is true also true. Nicknamed "the horn effect," people tend to clump together and amplify the perceived negative traits of a person. A study, published in Frontiers in Psychology, found that people were more likely to trust those they perceived as conventionally attractive, and less likely to trust those they considered ugly. Research also shows that "unattractive defendants" have longer and heavier sentences than criminals with conventional appeal.
Fortunately, according to Loroz, our cognitive prejudices do not hold the whole tour of the show: if consumers are highly motivated, it is time to properly evaluate their decisions, whether in the booth or in supermarkets, which is less likely. take into account in their choice. But people who make less risky decisions, or decisions in which they are not personally invested, could use "the credibility or attractiveness of a celebrity endorsement as a shortcut to scrutinize the information very carefully," he said. declared Loroz.
From reading club recommendations to presidential platforms, it seems like our brain is constantly trying to get us to follow the example of the rich, regardless of what they're selling. The solution? Take your time before making a decision, do your research and pay attention to who you trust.