daily fantasy sports articles
Dealing with 'Information Bias' in DFS
This week’s article, we will be deconstructing the cognitive bias “Information Bias”, which looks at whether the more information we have equals better decisions.
Our previous article focussed on the Framing Effect which highlighted how information presented from different perspectives can alter our judgment of it. Too much information can also cause us to lose sight of the important message, disguised within the constant stream of rumours, news and broadcasts we have access to. With all these sources of information and intel on leagues, teams, injuries, training, nutrition, player’s pre-game superstitions, player’s new born children, player’s pets and club mascots, when does knowing too much actually hinder our decision-making process more than it helps.
INFOMATION BIAS = illusion that more information leads to better decisions
This is critical in DFS, where we all strive for information or intel which can give us an edge. However, there comes a point, in which the more information we absorb, just becomes noise and clouds our mind and decision-making ability. More specifically, we may settle on a player, but as we acquire more information, we continually adjust our view to the point we lose sight of why we originally selected the player. This can also see us become overconfident on our thoughts of a player, and lead to overly risky decisions.
When is “too much” information
There can be two reasons that lead to information bias affecting our decision making.
- We look for additional information to support a hypothesis we already have
- We look for additional information to justify a decision which is uncomfortable to make.
When we look for information to justify our position on a player, we can be tricked into searching for irrelevant information which doesn’t help us make an informed decision, instead just supporting a previously biased perspective (belief bias).
Example: Don’t want to play Jack Ziebell in case he plays forward and scores poorly.
In this instance we can search for irrelevant information that supports our current view, such as:
- Kyron Hayden is a similar sized player, that pushes Ziebell back to forward
- If Larkey, Wood or Brown get injured Ziebell will need to play forward
- Collingwood have Langdon and Howe out, Shaw might want to play Ziebell forward
As we can see, this information only supports our previously held view of Ziebell, instead of looking at relevant information that would provide an informed decision of the situation.
The second way information bias can arise occurs when we have made up our mind on a player, but the selection makes us uncomfortable. In this instance, our decisiveness in selecting the player is traded with procrastination. In the form of searching for additional information that doesn’t provide us with any value.
How to identify Information Bias
In both the above examples, more information did not lead us to a better-informed decision, instead the opposite, leading towards a clouded point in which we have lost sight of the original goal. To identify when we may be overloaded with information or are wading through sources of irrelevant material, we can ask ourselves two things:
- Is this information I have found really relevant?
- Am I searching for information that I already know?
When we ask, is the information relevant, we can immediately acknowledge whether the information at hand is providing any value, additionally highlighting whether we are just searching for material to justify a preconceived belief on a player. If this is the case, we can use the tools suggested in the Belief Bias article to pivot back, looking at selecting the player from an evidence-based, probabilistic fashion.
Secondly, if we catch ourselves searching for information that we already know, we can flag that information bias may be occurring, and prevent ourselves from procrastinating away from making a decisive decision.
Remember these two reasons next time you are searching for information on a player. You may realise you have all the information you need and are just trying to justify your decision you’ve already made or feel uncomfortable in making a decisive decision. If either of these are true, look at any new information, and ask yourself if it is providing any value or insight to help your decision, or does it just make you more confused.
This is the fifth instalment of Kansas' cognitive bias articles. Click below to check out the others.