#BestAdvice: The curse of knowledge

Interesting experiment: 

The next time you're with a friend or your spouse, tap out a song for them. Start with your favorite song. Try a national anthem.  

No other sounds or gestures. Just tapping.  

The song will be clear as day, in your head. And statistically speaking, your friend or spouse won't be able to guess what it is. You may even wonder how they can't hear what you hear.  

This is called "the curse of knowledge," which I learned about reading Chip and Dan Heath's terrific book, Made to Stick

Wikipedia defines the curse of knowledge as: 

The curse of knowledge is a cognitive bias that occurs when, in predicting others' forecasts or behaviors, individuals are unable to ignore the knowledge they have that others do not have, or when they are unable to disregard information already processed.

It's a challenge for marketers, writers, creators, story tellers, sales professionals, managers, parents, and, well, just about anyone that wants to deliver a message about a subject they know a great deal about to someone who knows less.   

The curse of knowledge results in messages falling on deaf ears. Overcoming it isn't simple, though it does ironically require simplicity. Most importantly, however, it requires acknowledging it exists. 

 

This post is part of my #BestAdvice blog series, which is a personal project of mine to document the best advice I come across in a retrievable manner. Read more about it here