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The Cluster Effect: A weird bias that ruins your social life

There’s a weird bias that I don’t think has ever really been noticed before, and I call it “the Cluster Effect”.

When I’m helping clients with their social lives and relationships I often see that they subconsciously seem to believe they see a fair representation of all of society in their daily lives. They think they get to experience a global sample of everybody.

This leads them to judge all people based on the few that they have contact with.

They might think all women are crazy because all seven of the women they dated were emotionally unstable.

They might think people in authority are inherently narcissistic, because every boss they’ve ever had has been a bully.

They might think that all parents traumatise their children, because their own parents were abusive.

I remember thinking for a while that all men were predators, because my job as a Probation Officer meant that most of the men I interacted each day with were sex offenders.

What we don’t realize is that we don’t get a representative sample – not even close!

The friends you’ve had, and the partners and the workmates and the people who generally spend time with do not accurately represent the whole of society. We are, in fact, repeating patterns and seeing the same types of people over and over again.

You social circle generally represent the specific kinds of people you attract and are attracted to, the kinds of people that do the same activities as you, find the same jobs appealing, have similar hobbies, and so on.

And that’s actually a tiny niche of society. You simply haven’t met all the other types of people because the Cluster Bias causes you to unconsciously screen them out!

So you think you know everybody, but there’s a really good chance you have social patterns – clusters of the same types of people that don’t represent what is available out there in society.

Change yourself, and your clusters will change too.


If you’d like to expand your social cluster to find better people, then check out my Building Rapport course (free sample video here)

One Response

  1. Trying new activities that seem healthy but would make your current social circle mock you is a great way to break out of this bias (e.g. I started Salsa dancing)

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