week 4 discussion CONFIRMATION BIAS
I regretfully apologize for the extended instruction, but I could not avoid it! And please watch the Movie Moments, t
week 4 discussion CONFIRMATION BIAS
I regretfully apologize for the extended instruction, but I could not avoid it! And please watch the Movie Moments, too!
The absolute biggest obstacle to critical thinking is ‘confirmation bias.’
There are many definitions and most mention the searching for information confirming our beliefs: you must know that that is not intentional – most often not even conscious! We are, by and large, unaware of being biased.
There are many errors we commit during even one single day. ‘Why the errors,’ you may ask, and the short answer is that we (have to) use shortcuts when we form opinions because it would be impossible to research and study each and every decision, judgment, and opinion before we form them — and that would be most of the time unnecessary anyway.
The most serious errors in thinking we tend to commit are usually due to ‘confirmation bias.’ If people would not be biased they could come to an agreement or a compromise after careful deliberations, considering that that would be in their best interest — but it rarely happens: from big government vs. small government to term limits to ‘who is “the” racist’ (as if it could be only one group), affirmative action, the death penalty, abortion, euthanasia, gay marriage, drug laws, republicans versus democrats, liberals vs. conservatives, labor unions, taxes, health care law, gun control, animal rights, ‘vaccination issues,’ ‘a women’s place is in the kitchen’ (or not!), jobless benefits, environmental protection, wars, education, evolution, school prayer, police powers, ‘living wages,’ drinking age, alternative medicine, GMOs (genetically modified crops), speed limit, government data collection… just to name a few.
The basis of conflict often is the subjective nature of our decisions. Disagreements, disputes, screaming matches, physical fights, lawsuits, and war between nations are all there to prove in a very real and painful way that at least one party must be wrong in each conflict/disagreement while strongly believing just the opposite (but in most cases, both are — even if not always equally. How can that happen?
Our book mentions cognitive bias and discusses
of it in various chapters (briefly and well): Pgs. 6, 102-104, 109, 110, 116, 123, 145, 312-314, and 348-349, but it
define it clearly.
Confirmation bias is the UNCONSCIOUS tendency to confirm our already existing leanings, propensities, beliefs, and prejudices, or hasty decisions.
We are not only ignorant of our biases but are also often unable to recognize them even when they are pointed out to us! We will rather believe that those who call us biased are biased, mistaken, and/or malicious (please check out ‘fundamental attribution error’).
We often commit the following errors related to confirmation bias:
Selective scrutiny: accepting data/argument without much scrutiny from sources or for proposals we like but with much scrutiny from the ones we do not like (example: buying a new car)
Selective recall: remembering events that support our opinion and not those that contradict it
Pattern seeking: seeing ‘proof’ that ‘something is going on’ because of certain ‘mysterious’ coincidences (see Movie Moment #1).
Affirming the question: when people are asked if they are happy with their social life, almost 70% would answer yes and about 20% no, but if the question is asked the other way, asking them if they are unhappy with their social life, then approx. 70% would respond yes to that question as well (in each instance, people think about reasons they may be happy — or unhappy — and find enough reasons to say, yes, they are.
Avoiding cognitive dissonance: accepting certain ideas because they are consistent with our existing worldview/opinion or rejecting others because they are not — instead of working through the issues themselves (which can be very difficult and/or unsettling)
Demanding ‘yes or no answers:’ (seeing in black and white) being convinced that there must be absolutely good solutions, perfect (or perfectly rotten) people, or believing that someone who ‘opposes’ a ‘bad’ person is necessarily a ‘good’ person (as if we have never heard of gangs warring over turf, killing each other, for example). We often justify our (faulty) judgment by pointing out that the alternative is less than perfect as well.
The above issues are but the tip of the iceberg, so to speak, when it comes to confirmation bias (yes, there is an enormous amount of research about it).
Please read the pages in the book on confirmation bias and research it on the internet — and then, please describe an occasion that happened lately when you caught yourself
falling into confirmation bias but after all ended up correcting yourself. Please do not forget: lying, cheating, consciously twisting the facts or torturing reasoning are NOT confirmation bias (they are just not the best behavior); however, strongly and often passionately believing that we are correct when all the evidence contradicting it is in front of our nose is the consequence of confirmation bias.
Part 1- Your initial post: State your answers backed by the evidence you found. This ‘initial post’ has to be at least 400 words and is due by midnight on Wednesday.
Part 2- Your response to two students: These comments have to be at least 350 words and are due on two different days before the end of Sunday
Reply two peers
Week 4 Discussion
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“Confirmation bias is the tendency to look only for evidence that confirms our assumptions and to resist evidence that contradicts them” (Boss, 2021, p. 114). A recent confirmation bias that I had was on the decision not to use a certain hair salon to get my hair done based off a source that I consider credible as I am sure most do.
I am new to this part of the country because my family moves every three years due to my husband’s active-duty service obligations. I generally like to get my hair done every couple of months and it usually takes me some time to find someone I trust, which is basically a relationship generated off of third-party reviews and the recommendations of friends. One of my trusted advisors is an app that is called Yelp. I generally swear by the app and trust it to find all the best businesses. The yelp reviews for the salons within a decent radius from my home was not yield the results that I am affixed to receiving, and therefore the salons on this side of the country have to be horrible. Afterall, yelp has never steered me wrong….or has it? That thought kept trickling in my head. Was this a thought of desperation to settle with the lesser, or quite possible this was my brain starting a critical thinking process to challenge these trusted reviews in order to make my own decision. I started asking my neighbors while walking my dog to see where they went and what their recommendations were. I gathered quite a bit of recommendations that I can say are also bias if I go out and conduct business based on those recommendations alone. Getting hair professionally done is expensive and it needs to be right. So as my journey continued, I called the different salons asking general questions about hours, prices and how many qualified hairstylists they had working. Eventually I made my way into the salons to evaluate the scene, customers, and customer service. Long story short, I made my own decision which by the way doesn’t reflect their Yelp review at all. As many good resources as we have, it is always better to do some of your own work before completely relying on the opinions of others. I was sure that Yelp is the source of gold, but can tell you from firsthand experience that they can shape your opinion in way that it wouldn’t have been shaped if you had done more of your own work looking into whatever it is that you are looking for.
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Week 4 Discussion
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To describe an occasion that happened I Recently when I caught myself falling into confirmation bias but after all, ended up correcting myself. Before I get to that I’ll briefly explain what a confirmation bias is. A confirmation bias is “a type of cognitive bias that involves favoring information that confirms your previously existing beliefs or biases” (Cherry & Susman, 2021). Examples of confirmation bias are not seeking out facts, supporting one’s own belief by interpreting information to support said belief, only remembering specific details, and information that goes against beliefs is ignored. So, onto describing an occasion that happened recently when I caught myself falling into confirmation bias but after all ended up correcting myself. The only thing I can think of that’s a bit personal is when my brother came out as homosexual also known as gay. If I remember correctly, I did all the steps of confirmation bias, at first, I didn’t seek out facts because I was mad at my brother for coming out as gay, interpreted and remembered specific details that being gay was bad, and I ignored information that went against my beliefs. So how did I catch myself falling into confirmation bias, well I started looking for information thinking that it would support my beliefs but couldn’t find any because there wasn’t any true information on it? The more I would seek information, the less I interpreted information, stopped ignoring facts is when I stopped being angry at my brother for becoming gay. During my research on the subject, I found out the idea and practice of homosexuality has been around since ancient times and some wild animals practice it too. All learning all that information, realized I was wrong and basically said something like “all right nature, you win”. I couldn’t be against something that’s has been around for thousands of years and that is also practiced by some animals too. Well, there’s my little story on how I caught myself being biased and how I corrected myself. WC=336
Boss, J. A. (2021). Think: Critical thinking and logic skills for everyday life (5th ed.).
Cherry, K., & Susman, D. (2021, July 30). Why do we favor information that confirms our existing beliefs? Verywell Mind.
Porter, C. (2004, July 23). Homosexual activity among animals stirs debate. National Geographic.
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