I am looking for a word or phrase (possibly of the form "____ bias") that describes the bias felt by members of a profession towards their own profession, some of examples of which might be:

  • An author is more likely to write about characters who are themselves authors, a playwright to write about playwrights, and a painter to paint about the experience of painters.

  • An engineer will tend towards trying to solve the problems faced by other engineers.

  • A politician is most attuned to the issues faced by people who work in politics.

Example sentence:

The engineers don't seem to feel the new project is as important as the old one, but that might just be their _____ bias.

  • 4
    It's an aspect of parochialism. Every parish has its own traditions. Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 22:33
  • 1
    @JohnLawler interesting, that does seem to be related. I had been looking over Wikipedia's List of cognitive biases and not finding anything, but maybe this isn't really a cognitive bias; after all, it doesn't necessarily lead to any inaccurate beliefs, just skewed preferences.
    – Owen
    Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 22:41
  • 2
    Possibly in-group bias or favoritism or selection bias. Related is the "if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it's a nail."
    – mkennedy
    Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 23:11
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    See related question and answers: english.stackexchange.com/questions/239900/on-professional-bias
    – JEL
    Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 0:16
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    @JohnLawler After giving this a few months of thought, I'm convinced that parochialism is the best choice. Alas, it's not an answer! If you'd make it one I'd be happy to accept it.
    – Owen
    Commented Feb 7, 2016 at 1:39

5 Answers 5


The engineers don't seem to feel the new project is as important as the old one, but that might just be their _____ bias.

In most contexts, the answer would simply be "professional bias", but if the context is about one firm versus another, it could be "company bias" or "corporate bias".


Collegiate Bias / Collegial Bias

Although colleagiate is defined in relation to the word college, the word has generalised to also apply to colleagues or peers in a profession. The alternative word collegial suggested by @TheNate is similar and may be preferred due to its closer relationship with colleague.

Your question requests a word indicating a bias towards members of someone's own profession. Professional bias is a candidate, but the term carries a negative connotation, akin to a blind spot. Collegiate / collegial bias refers more strongly to the (positive) peer relationship than to the professional task. The idea is that to a person with a collegiate / collegial bias, peers tend to come to mind before non-peers.

  • 1
    'Collegial bias' sounds more right, spelling notwithstanding, but I like your answer. Could go with 'professional", "peer", or even "communal".
    – The Nate
    Commented Nov 30, 2015 at 7:29
  • @TheNate Good point. I've added it to my answer. Thanks!
    – Lawrence
    Commented Nov 30, 2015 at 9:05


A partisan is "an adherent or supporter of a person, group, party, or cause, especially a person who shows a biased, emotional allegiance."



Sounds like chauvinism

Prejudiced belief in the superiority of one's own gender, group, or kind: "the chauvinism ... of making extraterrestrial life in our own image" (Henry S.F. Cooper, Jr.)

American Heritage Dictionary


I feel like this could be Confirmation Bias ('Myside bias' according to wikipedia, which sounds more in line with your description) with some illusory superiority mixed in. (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illusory_superiority)

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