Questions about Confirmation Bias [topic: Sophia; sub- questions: Thor]

DATE 29 January 2017      [Main Discussion Topics Index ]

Confirmation Bias = The tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one's existing beliefs or theories.


1. Why does confirmation bias occur?


2. What are some positive consequences of confirmation bias?


3. What are some negative consequences of confirmation bias?


4. What is the meaning of “evidence” for different segments of the population?


5. If confirmation bias is inevitable, what can be done to minimize its effects?


6. How might confirmation bias occur in research in the so-called hard sciences where variables are apparently fewer and thus easier to control?


7. Is widespread statistical illiteracy a serious source of confirmation bias amongst both researchers and those who interpret research?


8. It is well known in sociolinguistics that fluency and coherence in speech are widely distrusted. Donald Trump is an extreme example of celebrating confirmation bias. His inability to put a coherent sentence together is seen by a large segment of the population as a sign of ‘honesty’ because his many of his followers share that incoherence and “trust intuition”. How can destructive confirmation bias be checked under these circumstances?


9. How dependent on confirmation bias are religions and ideologies amongst their followers?


10. What part does wisdom (good judgement based on accumulated experience) play in moderating confirmation bias over time?




Here are some section headings from the Wikipedia entry on confirmation bias ( What can you say about each of these?


Confirmation Bias


1 Types


    1.1 Biased search for information

    1.2 Biased interpretation

    1.3 Biased memory


2 Related effects


    2.1 Polarization of opinion

    2.2 Persistence of discredited beliefs

    2.3 Preference for early information

    2.4 Illusory association between events


3 Individual differences

4 History


    4.1 Informal observation

    4.2 Wason's research on hypothesis-testing

    4.3 Klayman and Ha's critique


5 Explanations

6 Consequences


    6.1 In finance

    6.2 In physical and mental health

    6.3 In politics and law

    6.4 In the paranormal

    6.5 In science

    6.6 In self-image

Confirmation Bias Discussion Questions ©Thor May 2018

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