I came across a clip from Jimmy Kimmel’s Lie Witness News in which participants were asked to taste test a new $7 Starbucks coffee. Two cups are set out side-by-side, and the moderator asks which cup the tester prefers. People assume they are tasting two different kinds of coffee—which seems perfectly natural, right? Check out the video, then keep reading below. The taste test starts at 1:05 if you want to skip the intro and get right to the main event.

Here's the catch: the coffee in both cups is the same—and it wasn't even the premium variety! This is just one more example of the universal nature of Cognitive Biases, the collection of mental shortcuts that have evolved in our brains over time. Despite the evidence of their senses, participants Confabulated—or generated seemingly rational reasons—why the two cups of coffee were different—even though they weren’t.

Interestingly, there is another Bias at work here—because participants are told they are testing different types of coffee, Conformity Bias prevents them from considering that each sip is in fact the same. There was just one person who challenged the fact that they were different.

It's fascinating stuff.To learn more about the eight Cognitive Bias that get in the way of innovation, take our quiz, or dowload our quick-reference guide below.

Download the Cognitive  Bias Cheat-Sheet


Emeritus Facilitator Christine Haskins

Christine Haskins is an Emeritus Facilitator and Former Vice President of Customer Experience at Ideas To Go. She worked with customer-centered innovation for Fortune 500 companies across all market categories and industries.