The Power of First-to-Mind and Avoidable Costs in Decision Making



Sep 27, 2023 โ€ข 4 min read


The Power of First-to-Mind and Avoidable Costs in Decision Making


In today's fast-paced world, our brains are constantly bombarded with information, forcing us to make quick decisions. However, our minds have developed shortcuts called cognitive biases to help us navigate through this overwhelming amount of data. One such bias is the mere-exposure effect, which causes us to prefer familiar things. Additionally, we often rely on cognitive ease, which leads us to make decisions based on what feels familiar rather than analyzing every bit of information. This article explores the impact of the first-to-mind effect and the concept of avoidable costs in decision making.

The Influence of First-to-Mind:

The first-to-mind effect is a psychological phenomenon that plays a significant role in our decision-making process. When we see a product or service repeatedly advertised, it becomes one of the first options that come to mind when we need it. This effect, also known as the mere-exposure effect, is driven by our tendency to prefer things we are familiar with. The more exposure we have to a particular product or brand, the more likely we are to choose it when the need arises. Advertisers understand this concept and use it to their advantage, ensuring that their product stays at the forefront of our minds.

The Power of Cognitive Ease:

Our brains are wired to conserve mental energy, and as a result, we often rely on shortcuts when making decisions. One such shortcut is cognitive ease, which guides us back to familiar paths when faced with unfamiliar choices. This means that even if we are unsure about a product or service, our brains will default to what feels familiar. Unfortunately, this reliance on cognitive ease can lead us to make decisions based on perceived familiarity rather than objective analysis. It is important to recognize this bias and approach decision-making with a critical mindset.

The Role of Social Proof:

Another factor that influences our decision-making process is social proof. We have an inherent need to follow the actions of others, seeking assurance that a product or service is worth having. When we see others using or endorsing a particular product, it creates a sense of validation and front-loads it in our minds. This is where the power of human content curation comes into play. By seeking the opinions and recommendations of our family and friends, we can gain valuable insights and make more informed decisions. Word-of-mouth communication acts as a form of human curation, providing us with trustworthy information.

Taking Control of Decision Making:

While our first-to-minds may come automatically, we have the power to shape our decisions based on that information. It is essential to question, inquire, and confirm the information presented to us before taking the next step. By following the content curation route, we can avoid blindly accepting information and make choices that align with our needs and preferences. It is crucial to remember that just because something feels familiar doesn't necessarily mean it is the best option. By actively engaging in the decision-making process, we can avoid falling victim to cognitive biases and make more informed choices.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Recognize the influence of cognitive biases: Be aware of the first-to-mind effect and cognitive ease when making decisions. Take a step back and critically evaluate your options instead of relying solely on familiarity.
  • 2. Seek diverse opinions: Don't limit yourself to a single source of information. Reach out to friends, family, and experts for their insights and experiences. This will provide you with a more well-rounded perspective.
  • 3. Take your time: Avoid rushing into decisions. Give yourself space to think, research, and evaluate all available options. Taking a deliberate approach will help you make more informed choices.


The power of first-to-mind and avoidable costs in decision making cannot be underestimated. Understanding how our minds function and the biases that influence our choices allows us to take control of our decision-making process. By questioning information, seeking diverse opinions, and taking our time, we can make choices that align with our needs and preferences. Remember, the first option that comes to mind may not always be the best, so it's important to approach decision making with a critical mindset.

Want to hatch new ideas?

Glasp AI allows you to hatch new ideas based on your curated content. Let's curate and create with Glasp AI :)