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Covert Advertising Psychology through Confirmation Bias

Title: Covert Advertising Psychology through Confirmation Bias
Length: 698 words (body); 65 cpl

Author: Dorian Greer
Email: editor(at)

Category: Marketing / Advertising / Psychology
Copyright 2005

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---- Article ----

Covert Advertising Psychology through Confirmation Bias
by Dorian Greer

Confirmation bias is a tool of choice for covert influence. It's
agreeable, it's easy to use, and can motivate the smartest of
people to believe in the weirdest of things.

WARNING: This article gives an example of confirmation bias used
to make otherwise intelligent people believe impossible things.
The example chosen is based on pervasiveness, to make the point
obvious, but some might be offended. Publishers beware - the
example MAY adversely affect some of your audience.

What is Confirmation Bias?


"Confirmation bias refers to a type of selective thinking whereby
one tends to notice and to look for what confirms one's beliefs,
and to ignore, not look for, or undervalue the relevance of what
contradicts one's beliefs."

This simple yet profound definition is why prejudice won't die,
why smart people believe weird things, and why facts seldom (if
ever) change a strong belief.

Reinforcing the Factually Untrue

The feedback loop created by selective thinking is classic
hypnotic methodology. Confirmation bias is thus a way of "pacing
one's self" into a state of hypnotic belief.

When used in advertising, confirmation bias is the pacing of
choice, for raw hypnotic influence.

To wit: The more one absorbs information that agrees with what
they already believe, contrary evidence holds less and less
value. This is why a person can be "talked" into a hypnotic
belief system that is contrary to the real world.

Try these examples by answering each question TRUTHFULLY:

1. Does Santa Clause really exist, (led by flying reindeer)?
2. Is our moon made of Swiss cheese?
3. Can snakes talk?
4. Have you ever witnessed magic flying carpets, or a real genie?
5. Do horses fly (Pegasus)?

Now notice that none of these have any factual basis as being
true. But they all exist in fantasy, make-believe worlds.

The trick in the hypnotic process is to confuse the believer into
merging the make-believe with the real. And this can be done
through confirmation


Example: Mass Hypnosis through Confirmation Bias

In the list of make-believe stories above, can you recognize
where the situation from item #3 comes from? It's from the story
of Adam of Eve. This alone makes this article controversial, but
I needed an obvious example.

There are probably millions in the United States alone that,
every Sunday, have impossible stories reinforced to the point
where they become merged with real life, to become literally
indistinguishable from reality by the believer.

It is pure hypnosis through confirmation bias that causes a
seemingly logical, rational, person to accept and believe
something that they know cannot be true. Even children understand
that snakes can't talk, and yet...

Many believers would rather admit that talking snakes are not
possible while STILL maintaining the belief, than change the

Want proof? Ask any devout Christian if snakes can talk, and they
will likely tell you that "back then, it might have been
possible, because...", and then everything else that follows will
be just as pure fantasy as the story itself!

THIS is the power of confirmation bias when it is continually
reinforced. People will violently oppose the truth, even when
faced with unequivocal fact. (But note: the confirmation data
need not be true either; it just needs social ratification!)

An Equal Opportunity Deceiver

It should be noted that confirmation bias is a constant enemy we
all share. It's a common problem we experience in science, in
religion, in advertising, and in everyday perceptions.

Eugene Schwartz, in Breakthrough Advertising; page 131, states:

"If you can channel the tremendous force of his belief - either
in content or direction - behind only one claim, no matter how
small, then that one fully-believed claim will sell more goods
than all the half-questioned promises your competitors can write
for all the rest of their days. This channeling of belief is so
powerful that, if properly directed, it will even support
otherwise-absurd claims."

Notice The Last Sentence

Even smart people can be led to believe stupid things with the
right pacing of belief by utilizing the technique of confirmation
bias. (It's true in psychology; it's true in religion; it's true
in hypnosis; it's true in advertising.) Would you like to know
more about covert influence?

Continue to Here:
"Seducing The Buyer"

Copyright 2005 Dorian Greer, Editor - Seducing The Buyer.

About the Author

Continue to Here:
"Seducing The Buyer"

Copyright 2005 Dorian Greer, Editor - Seducing The Buyer.

Written by: Dorian Greer

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