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Naturalness Bias: Why People Reward Innate Talent Over Hard Work

23 May 2023 |

By Sophia Voce


I came across a fascinating article from the BBC today about the human instinct to favour innate talent over hard work. Something referred to as ‘naturalness bias’.

​“The naturalness bias is thought to operate below conscious awareness, and the consequences can be deeply unfair. In recruitment, for example, interviewers may prefer a less qualified candidate if they believe their achievements arose from natural talent – compared to a more accomplished candidate who demonstrated grit and determination.” writes David Robson for the BBC.

So how can we avoid being punished for our hard work? Luckily the scientists behind studies into naturalness bias have offered some advice to help us avoid unfair appraisal of our achievements.

Robson goes on to explain, “The smartest solution, then, may be to give a more nuanced picture of our success without focusing exclusively on one element or the other. At a job interview, for instance, we could make a point of discussing the areas that had needed extra dedication while also listing the innate strengths that had helped us to get ahead. “It’s possible that we have just been emphasising all the hours of effort and education,” says Tsay. “But there are still some things that probably came easier to us, and it’s OK to reveal those balance out the narrative.”

Whether the ratio of inspiration and perspiration is 99 to 1, as (Thomas) Edison suggested, or a 50:50 split, you can acknowledge how both characteristics led to your success. Only then will you win the respect that you deserve.”

You can check out the full article on BBC Worklife here:

Why people reward innate talent over hard work - BBC Worklife

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