We often say, “We know what we like.” But it’s more accurate to say, “We like what we know.”
Today he’s considered “one of the most famous artists of all time.”
In 1990 his Portrait of Dr. Gachet (at left) sold for $82,500,000. It was the highest price paid for art at a public auction at the time. Taking inflation into account, that record still holds.
What happened? Did his work magically improve over time? Of course, not.
What happened is more mundane. One hundred years ago Van Gogh’s style of painting was new and unlike anything people had seen before. Since then, we’ve been exposed to his art countless times. And we’ve been told by experts and by just about everyone else how extraordinarily beautiful they are. And we think of them as beautiful.
The same is true for music. We tend to like the music we already know — that’s why golden oldies are so popular — and to like music that is similar to the music we already know.
And the same is true for ideas.
Psychologists and researchers confirm that we tend to give credence to information, ideas, and opinions that confirm our current thinking. It’s called confirmation bias.
Confirmation bias (also called confirmatory bias or myside bias) is a tendency for people to favor information that confirms their preconceptions or hypotheses regardless of whether the information is true.
What’s that mean for us?
When we present a new idea — and that’s the point of making a speech or presentation, isn’t it — we have to show audiences how it aligns with what they already know, with beliefs they already hold, with their current biases.
And we have to realize that people’s need to be exposed to new ideas — especially radically new ideas — incrementally and over time.