Mental Models: Status Quo Bias


How might this apply to great teams and cultures?

People are inclined to keep things as they are. We go with the flow to build trust and create subtle shifts. With status quo, there is a lack of tension, a feeling of comfort. It is about fairness, balance and 'rightness'. We like and trust people who we believe are like us and who like us. When we trust them, we are then more easily persuaded by their recommendations. We are also more persuaded when they do not knock our arguments.

How might this apply to your business?

People adopt what is recommended by people (and brands) they trust—simply stating the most popular options is often enough to influence decision—and people tend to stick with that choice.


Have you thought through the default options in your app? the service you provide? the product you've built? If you’re asking people to switch, consider how you might represent sticking with the status quo as a loss (and pitch the new system as an “alternative” rather than a replacement).Rather than argue (against the opposing view or the competition), how can you agree in a way that does not compromise what you want them to think or the choice you want them to make? Rather than fighting their arguments, include them in your case.

See Also

Loss Aversion, Ownership Bias, Familiarity Bias, Story, Framing


In the whirl of our day-to-day interactions, it’s all too easy to forget the nuances that distinguish great teams, great cultures, and great products/services.

Mental Model Flash Cards bring together insights from psychology into an easy reference and brainstorming tool. Each card describes one insight into human behavior and suggests ways to apply this to your teams as well as the design of your products and services.