More Perspectives on IKEA Effect Bias

by Darren Hood

Source: Matthew Newman

There are over 100 cognitive biases at work in the digital world. Confirmation bias is when someone only gravitates and listens to things that are aligned with what they already believe or want to hear. With hindsight bias, after something takes place, a person behaves as if they knew what was going to happen all along when they really had no idea. When a person operates under the false consensus bias, they falsely assume others share their sentiments, resulting in overestimating the value and accuracy of said sentiments.

They all carry consequences, but one of extreme importance (and the focal point of our coverage today) is what’s known as The IKEA Effect. According to the folks at The Decision Lab, this is where “people value items more highly if they belong to them — or even if they just feel a sense of ownership over them.”

Here’s a list of some problems caused by IKEA Effect bias:

  • Objectivity is abandoned
  • Critical thinking is not applied fully or properly
  • People refuse to give credit where it is due
  • Blind devotion
  • The refusal to examine things ethically and thoroughly
  • Unjustifiable endorsement and overvaluation
  • Fosters illogical modes of operation
  • Denial
  • Toxic positivity

To overcome IKEA Effect bias, being ethical is the key. One must strive to be objective at all costs. Subject your recommendations to validation (i.e., research). When you research, don’t frame questions and tasks to generate the response you seek. Analyze and synthesize data properly. If you went through a program, school, or UX bootcamp, don’t fudge your sentiment about or commitment to the resource. Be truthful. Face the truth (good or bad) and share your findings as necessary and with all transparency.

The Cognitive Bias Codex (2016). Source: Wikipedia

Conclusion

You will find that accurately ascribing value and seeing something for what it is will regularly pave the way for proceeding the right way, setting proper expectations, and communicating more effectively with others. These are much better options than thinking or assuming something is wonderful just because you created it, attended it, spoke it, or paid for it.

For your convenience, here’s a list of additional information about IKEA Effect bias:

You can hear more from the author by checking out The World of UX with Darren Hood wherever podcasts are available.

Darren Hood: UX pro (20+ yrs), adjunct professor, international conf. speaker, founder of Kaizen UX Consulting & Education, & host of The World of UX podcast