No.3 of 36 - What is Attentional Bias?

No.3 of 36 - What is Attentional Bias?

Attentional bias is the inability to see all sides of a story. When you fail to consider the things you don't see, you are displaying Attentional Bias.

Attentional bias is the way in which shoppers don’t take into consideration all available factors and possibilities when making purchasing decisions. Our emotional state often influences our attentional bias as we tend to pay more attention to something that emotionally stimulates us.

Emotion is key

The more that shoppers are touched emotionally, the more they will focus on that emotional stimulus over any other product attribute.

Shoppers need emotion in-store and what they emotionally attend to will be the most appealing, so long as the right emotions are targeted. If you want shoppers to emotionally attend to your brand in-store, there are several aspects you should consider:

1. Your emotional hook

Emotions grab attention much faster than rational concepts and thoughts, so make sure you have an emotional trigger for shoppers to first engage with. Ensure their attentional bias is driven by your emotional hook.

2. Making your USP emotional

What ever your brand is famous for, make sure to give shoppers an emotional reason to accept that fame. How will it help them feed, fight, flee or fornicate?

3. Fighting reason with emotion

When your competitors are making strong (but rational) claims, present shoppers with an emotional alternative why your brand is preferable.


In summary, Attentional Bias gives you a great way of making your brand look disproportionately appealing. But equally, the wrong emotional attention can seriously damage brand performance. So, find your best emotion and communicate it effectively.

Attentional Bias is No.3 of 36 cognitive bias insights. Read No.4 here: Attribution Substitution

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About Phillip Adcock

My name is Phillip Adcock: I have more than 30 years of human behavioural research and analysis, and have developed a unique ability to identify what it is that makes people psychologically and physiologically 'tick'.

Would you like to know more about how shoppers and consumers think? Download my FREE guide now. Alternatively, check out, where there are more FREE downloads available there. Or why not simply email me with what's on your mind?

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Phillip Adcock

Phillip Adcock CMRS
Psychology & Behaviour
Change Consultant

Phillips Signature

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