Confirmation Bias

Confirmation Bias

Feeling strongly about something ? Ever wondered why ? Why is it that we trust in our own personal beliefs and think that anything that may contradict our opinion is wrong ? Where does our beliefs and opinions come from ? Why do we tend to believe that our convictions are the correct ones and t’éjecte any other that may place a doubt ? Well, it seems we are liable to be influenced by a little problem known as confirmation bias. What is confirmation bias ? Confirmation bias is when our beliefs or opinions are often based on paying attention to the information that upholds them whole at the same time tending to ignore the information that challenge them. In other words, it is a term that in cognitive psychology is quite often used to describe how people naturally favor information that confirms their previously existing beliefs and rejecting any conflicting ones.    

Now, let’s get into understanding more in depth confirmation bias. Based on Kendra Cherry’s article, confirmation bias is a type of cognitive bias that involves favoring information that supports your previously existing biases. For example, imagine that Billy holds a belief that blue eyed people are more aggressive then the green eyed people. Whenever Billy runs into a blue eyed  person and sees that person in  act of an argument or violence he places a greater focus on the proof that supports his belief. Billy might even look for evidence to further support his bias and discount the rest of the other theories that does not  go with his belief. Confirmation bias occurs from the direct influence of beliefs. When we like a certain concept to be true and end up believing it to be true. We are motivated by wishful thinking.

In psychology today, Shahram Heshmat wrote in an article that confirmation bias can be found in anxious individuals who view the world as dangerous. Based on Heshmat’s example a person with low self esteem is highly prone to being ignored by others and constantly monitor for cues that people might not like them. They interpret neutral behavior as indicative of something negative. Confirmation bias is a phenomenon in which decision makers have been shown to actively seek out and assign more weight to evidence that confirms their hypothesis.

So is it crazy for us to feel strongly about something we fully believe to be correct ? No, not really. Are we not normal for rejecting anything that may go against our biases or beliefs ? Nope, not all. It is completely normal to accept only your opinion and reject others. We all suffer from confirmation bias. Unfortunately..


5 thoughts on “Confirmation Bias

  1. ewooten

    I think confirmation bias is definitely something that more people should know about, especially in today’s political and social climate in which too many people ignore the unbiased truth in favor of their own strong, and sometimes even absurd, beliefs, despite clear, solid evidence against them. I think most everyone would greatly benefit from being reminded of our own confirmation bias so that we can check ourselves and our sources before committing and acting upon an idea which might be very shakily founded. I also think that understanding and acting against confirmation bias would be useful for young people, especially in regard to what you mentioned about anxious people or people with low self-esteem only noticing the interactions with the world that further solidify their views of themselves and the world around them.

  2. dnewman

    I think confirmation bias is a really interesting topic. The idea that we reject everything that goes against our beliefs is almost troubling, but also explains the stubbornness of humans. As soon as I started reading your introductory paragraph, my mind immediately went to instances where I refused to be wrong, even if the other person insisted they were right. It’s not something anyone can deny doing, because everyone does, but I think its interesting to look into, so super cool blog!

  3. dzuleta

    From my experience, I believe that a huge factor in confirmation bias is fear. I think as young as college students are, we instantly freak out when we overthink something as simple as the flu could possibly be cancer. This holds true when I was trying to gather symptoms I was experiencing and searching for possible reasons as to why I was experiencing them. This led me to WebMD, which has good intention aware people of possible conditions, had ultimately led me to believe the worst case scenario for my symptoms. Aside from finding sources that could counter that belief of some chronic disease, I remained assuming the worst scenario and it only grew as I found more articles suggesting all these terrible things. Turned out, I only had acute bronchitis and it went away after a week. Point is, confirmation bias will feed off information thrown that supports a previous belief for reasons such as fear and confidence.

  4. jadeturner

    It is crazy how confirmation bias applies to many aspects of the world we encounter on a day to day basis. Someone above mentioned politics which is very true, but it is also true in the work force. Where I work, which is in car sales, you encounter people who you work with who think they know what the sales process is and how it should be done which is wrong. They are experiencing confirmation bias by believing in their own wrong processes. Every company has a process they want their employees to follow to help drive business, and sometime the employees will put their own twist to it but still follow the general gist of the process. Then you have others who do not and develop their own way of working and claim that to be the general consensus of the process the company provided.

  5. jduvall

    I think a really fun idea about confirmation bias, is meta confirmation bias. Since we as psych majors are aware of this phenomena, we might be prone to understanding that we are being biased based off of this effect, but what do we then do with that information? Do we stop and think rationally, waiting for empirical evidence to prove whether we’re right or wrong? Or do we act completely subjectively and extract that thought just so we can further our own biases?

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