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The Ethics of Bias

Most of us think we’re media savvy enough to see how the world works - quick to spot when someone is trying to pull a fast one. And we’d like to think we’re good people too. Opposed to racism and sexism. Never too quick to judge.

Sadly neuroscience and psychology reveal otherwise. All of us take shortcuts in our thinking. We often make fast and unfair assumptions of others – favouring people from similar age groups or backgrounds and identifying with those who look like us, over those who don’t. We’re ingrained with biases.

And even though we’re becoming more aware of the ways our biases are getting the best of our good and reasonable selves, we let advertising exploit them all the time. Our unconscious biases love advertising – a lot more than we do.

Understanding these quiet biases can open us up, make us less afraid of the unfamiliar and more tolerant of our differences.

In a sold out session on 26 July, consumer psychologist Adam Ferrier joined The Ethics Centre to offer a behind the scenes tour of of our own psychology. He revealed how advertisers skip past the smart version you, and talk directly to your deep rooted dispositions. 

Adam Ferrier is co-founder of creative advertising agency THINKERBELL. Before creating this latest agency, he co-founded the award winning Naked Communications and was partner at cummins&partners. He has degrees in clinical psychology and commerce. Adam wrote, The Advertising Effect: How to change behavior.


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