Illusion ↔ Reality
Individual and community beliefs affect decisions
In the field of family planning, it is well documented that individuals’ and communities’ beliefs can differ from objective facts and affect decision-making. We classify these beliefs into three main phenomena: beliefs about facts, beliefs about probabilities, and beliefs about preferences. Below is an example of each.
Beliefs about Facts:
Individuals often believe things that are objectively incorrect.
In Kenya, qualitative research has found that some women believe that contraception results in infertility, future contraceptive failure, device expulsion or shift, cancerous growths, and birth defects.
Beliefs about Probabilities:
People often make faulty estimates about the likelihood of an event or outcome.
In a US based study researchers found that women obtaining abortions often believed they could not become pregnant based on their past experiences.
Beliefs about Preferences:
People often carry the flawed belief that tastes or preferences are fixed over time.
Little research has been done to identify projection bias in the RH context, but it my be relevant for fertility related decisions.