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Dipesh Majumdar

Blog and Paintings

Naturally biased

June 29, 2012

A friend came running at me with a gleaming smile on his face. He exclaimed, "Did you see yesterday's match. Nadal is out!!! He has been defeated by a rookie! It’s a record! 5 setter! Hell of a match!" I was little shocked. For I never expected such a performance from Nadal in this Wimbledon season. But then I thought, "Why is this guy so happy at Nadal's defeat!" I asked him, "Don't you like Nadal?" He said, "No, I want Federer to win!"

Now I have been thinking in this line for quite sometime and the above incident triggered me to pen down this observation. Human mind is naturally biased. We can't watch a match in a neutral mind, even though we don't have anything to do with the players... they are not our kith or kin, they are not going to reward us or smile at us! But we truly want them to win and if they lose we get shattered!

We like some and hate some. We want some to win and want some to lose. Sometimes the basis on which this bias is formed is self-explanatory. For example in a hard fought match, my bias is towards my country and that is obvious. However sometimes this prejudice can seem ridiculous, weird, illogical and funny! 

I always support Portugal in a football match and may be because I like the personality of Christiano Ronaldo! I prefer Japan to Korea in a table tennis match, because Japan seems weaker and the weak attracts sympathy. And I support Djokovic and I don't really know why. May be it has to do with Djoko's personality, face and mannerisms. Or may be I haven't found any Djoko-fan in my friend circle and so I have decided to be one.

Whenever Nadal and Federer lock horns against each other, most of the time the audience supports Federer. People seem to detest Nadal’s aggressive body language, which acts as a threat in some subconscious level. Two negatives make a positive. So the same negative body language directed towards an opponent of Spain creates a positive bias in a Spainiard. This is exactly the same reason behind the tremendous support Saurav Ganguly enjoys in Kolkata but not so much in the rest of the nation!

And what about those matches between Serena Williams and Sharapova? Sharapova takes away more that 95 percent of the support from the audience. Is it that if one is white he feels it easy to associate with another white skin and vice versa. And one cannot show that blatantly lest it should be labelled as Racism, but in a tennis match one can just cheer Sharapova with deafening decibel and no one will say a thing!

Sachin Tendulkar enjoys a lot of support in the global cricketing fraternity but Shoaib Akhtar doesn't! David Beckham has tremendous fan following but Ronaldo from Brazil was never that popular though his striking ability was equal if not better. People love Imran Khan but not Javed Miandad.

Well, there is something in the personality, definitely! Something in the face, the smile and gestures. Some faces will attract blind sympathy and support. And some personalities will repel. Much like the way characters for a hero and villain are drawn in a movie.

Moreover, a bias leans heavily towards someone with whom we can easily associate (geographical factors, skin color etc).

Sometimes the mind knows that the bias is wrong but the blind heart ignores. And heart being stronger the unjustified bias reigns!

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