I heard two good examples of the personal preference bias on the airwaves recently.
In the first example, the radio hosts were discussing companies in Austin, Texas paying homeless people to carry around wi-fi hotspots and wear t-shirts with the hotspot sponsors.
One radio host was disturbed by this. She asked, “Don’t you think we can find better, less exploitative, jobs for these poor people?”
A caller pointed out that she is displaying a characteristic of a liberal. She’s more worried about how she feels about it (personal preference) than how the homeless people feel about it. Apparently the homeless people are fine with it, so why doesn’t she give any weight to their opinion?
In the second example, an author of a new book that exposes inconsistencies in the proclamations of Hollywood stars and their own behavior. He mentioned a time when the singer Sting was preaching that we need to reduce our carbon footprints. A reporter mentioned that Sting has a large carbon footprint.
Sting responded that it would be hard to do his job with his large carbon footprint. The author said, “Exactly! That’s our point. It’s hard to do any of our jobs without our carbon footprints.
Sting evaluated the benefits he receives from his carbon footprint, or the trade-offs, in his personal situation (person preference bias) and decided his carbon footprint was worth it, but assumed others had not made that same calculation.