Expectation Bias. What is it?

A lot of chat about expectation bias vs reality in so many threads.
A big can of worms, yes.
Perhaps some could enlighten with their thoughts.

EB is different to reality as such by our objective observations of it being influenced by other stimuli.

With hifi, this could be difficult to blind test - as we all share the same facility to observe it. So not really a blind test. (Unless those with golden ears)
Pics with pets thread has thrown some light. Some preferences expressed by other blind members with faculties beyond ours.

Look into the mirror and look at your left eye, then your right eye. Did you see your eyes move ?
No because your brain has been set from eons of evolution to filter this out.

Reality as such, is perhaps beyond comprehension and our expectations of it is really all we have.

Yes. I wake up in the morning and put on some music. This all seems very real.
I don’t necessarily expect to wake up every morning, but the hifi looks and sounds real.
But is it ???

Blind testing other than speakers need not be difficult! (I have done it on a number of occasions.)

But in reality you were still asleep and dreaming! Next time pinch yourself to see…

[edit: Corrected original typo of ‘asleep and’ ]

Great question @TOBYJUG all I can say is my system following the recent upgrades is off the scale good, which I am pleased to say after 20 years - it is done!!!

could it be even better, yes I am sure it could be, could I afford it to be? But in the world of diminishing returns, my concern is now without spending a very large amount of money on 552/500

My dealer does not sell smoke and mirrors, all they offer is the chance to lisen and give you an informed perspective - that will have to do for me until someone comes up with a better answer

apart from that I just enjoy the music

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Yes. quite often.

!!! That’s iPhone speak for “asleep and”!

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No. I prefer adlerpabd dreaming. Seems more arcane.

The placebo effect is an example of an expectation bias. It illustrates this is a physiological not just apsychological effect. All of us are subject to the effect: it is not somehow a criticism.

Give someone a red dummy pill and tell then it will help them sleep and on average users experience better sleep ie they do not just report it. Make the pill blue and the effect is bigger, conversely the red tablet works better as a painkiller.

Get the tablet to be delivered by a doctor in a white coat and you get a bigger effect. Add a list of possible side effects and you get a bigger effect, and you also see some side effects reported.

Make the treatment taste unpleasant, deliver it in an injection…all bigger effects. Put in in an unassuming white paper box… lesser.

This is all measurable. A placebo tablet labelled ‘water tablet’ does make people pee more.

We have expectations of the intervention and they are altered by context. Our interpretation of what we experience is altered by them but so is our actual experience. We are not ‘making it up’ we really feel/taste/hear the difference.

In the context of HiFi, as I am sure is intended, what you believe about a product, how much personally you have invested in it emotionally and financially, how well it us marketed maybe even how impressive the instruction book looks will all potentially alter your experience of it. Not beyond all objectivity but to a degree.



Yes. But I was thinking more along between the lines and behind the mask.
Placebo effect more or less involves another agent.
Just imagine you are alone with only your thoughts. No other “other” affecting anything.
Can Expectations really be removed ?
Do we ever experience anything outside our expectations ?
Can we really experience reality as it is. Whatever it is ? (although it would help if known watts into 6 ohms)

It’s the goal of Zen Meditation, to see outside our expectations. I believe and feel it’s possible. See the world like it is, not like we think it is. However I know I am very far from it…

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You have torn the veil of illusion, FR.


I had sometimes in my life the intuition that there is something more than our ego…only brief intuition. The veil of illusion is firmly surrounding me for now and very probably for ever.



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Yes but you are living in Paris which explains it.


The other day Roon suggested that I listen to some stuff I had not heard since I bought it a decade or so ago. I was pleasantly surprised (see Transkapela). Yesterday I fancied some Mozart so I looked out a favourite; I was so disappointed (flute and harp).
Sometimes I’m surprised by the music other times underwhelmed - I know which I prefer but I can’t predict it.

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There are a few people who try to get this topic off topic by dragging it into the hifi spectrum. This does not match my expectation bias.


That’s more comfirmation bias. :star:

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Or conformation bias


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