People Are 50% More Likely to Listen to Friends’ Advice . . . Than Advice From Experts

If you’re choosing a new brand of baby food, do you ask your friends . . . or read reviews from nutritionists?  If you’re looking to invest money, do you ask your parents . . . or consult a financial advisor?

A new study has found that people are 50% more likely to listen to the advice of friends and family . . . over an expert in the field.

It’s a concept called “social proof,” which was first coined back in 1984.  It refers to the “wisdom of friends” . . . the excessive influence a person’s social circle may have on their decisions, even if their opinions are limited and anecdotal.

It isn’t new . . . but it could be even more prevalent now with social media.  (I’m sure you’ve seen someone ask for advice on a big decision . . . only to get some QUESTIONABLE responses from the people they know.)

Behavioral scientists say we prefer advice from friends and family because “we instinctively trust them, and believe that they have our best interests at heart.”

Plus, if we follow the advice of our social circle, we may feel more reassured and supported in that decision.

And there’s also “simplicity bias” . . . preferring a simple opinion, rather than digging through an answer that has more complexity, even if the complex one is more informed, realistic, and balanced.

(But enough about these random “behavioral scientists” . . . what does Uncle Jimmy think???)

In a separate poll, 28% of people say they “deliberately” avoid seeking advice from experts in favor of going with the opinion of friends and family.

But half of the people in the poll say they “stopped being friends with someone who gave them bad advice.”  And 40% admit that they later wished they’d sought more expert advice before making a big life decision.