Cognitive biases are a very serious obstacle for the advance of concern for all sentient beings. In addition, they can be harmful to animal advocacy, as they can lead animal activists to get involved in courses of action that don’t achieve the best results for animals. Because of this, we have previously published different posts on this topic addressing how different cognitive biases are harmful for animals.
We have now published a new text addressing one of the biases that most commonly impedes work on progress for animals, blocking the expansion of moral consideration towards others who are currently deprived of it. You can read this new article here:
The status quo bias leads people to assume that the present situation is preferable to other possible options. This happens even when they would prefer other alternatives if they were comparing all options impartially, without giving added weight to the current situation (“the default”). The fact that some state of affairs is the current one is not a relevant reason for it to be better than possible options, so treating it as if it is would be irrational. Unfortunately, this bias makes it harder to change the terrible present situation for both animals used by humans and animals in the wild. But there are strong challenges to the status quo bias.