The constant stream of numbers we encounter in our daily lives influences our decisions and perceptions of value in more ways than we realize, from social media likes to real estate prices, and we should be aware of their impact and potential biases.
In today’s world, we are constantly surrounded by numbers, from social media likes to fitness tracking data, which can influence our decisions and perceptions of value. Psychologists call this phenomenon “anchoring,” where our understanding of something is anchored to a guide. These anchors can be used to manipulate people in negotiations or even in court sentencing. Recent studies have shown that even unrelated numbers, such as step counts and housing prices, can affect our willingness to pay for things. Algorithms also adapt to the size of the numbers we encounter, which can contribute to the spread of fake news and our difficulty in distinguishing truth from fiction. Therefore, we must be aware of the influence of numbers and try to detox ourselves from them.