Data Is hindered by a number of cognitive biases:
- Naive Realism Bias
Look at the latest CDC Data on fundraising for diseases in the US:
Figures = $dollars raised ($dollars per death)
- Breast cancer raises $250m a year (approx. $6000 per death)
- Prostate cancer $120m ($5500)
- Heart disease $50m ($880)
Breast Cancer raises 8x more per death than Heart Disease. There are many variables here, but emotionally Breast Cancer is more of a concern - it’s inherently linked to emotion and self-identity. We fear Cancer far more than any other disease because we feel helpless, not because we fear death.
We have to understand that data is meaningless. In the book, I call this Naked Data. Your audience does not absorb and remember data nearly as effectively as they absorb and remember story. That means, we have to package data with story if we want to create influence.
This is what psychologists call, the “Naive Realism” bias. We think the world is at it is, rather than the world is as we see it. And, Data Storytelling is the acceptance of this truth, that without stories and emotion, data is cold and meaningless and impotent.
- We don’t connect with logic, we connect with emotion
- People buy on emotion and justify with logic
- The more emotional the data, the more we are likely to act upon it