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Confirmation Bias and Making Life Choices

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https://www.nirandfar.com/2017/10/confirmation-bias-terrible-life-choices.html

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Confirmation Bias and Making Life Choices
Nir's Note: This post is co-authored with and illustrated by Lakshmi Mani, a product designer working in San Francisco. You walk into your first yoga class. You're a little insecure about your weight and how your yoga clothes cling to your body revealing every flaw. You're nervous about making a fool of yourself.

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Confirmation bias

Is the human tendency to seek, interpret and remember information that confirms pre-existing beliefs. 

It affects every choice you make and it all happens in the background withou...

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Confirmation bias affects you in 3 ways:

  1. How you seek information - how you look at the world around you
  2. How you interpret the information in front of you - the information you process tends to favour your belie...

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Being wrong and self-image

You seek evidence that confirms your beliefs because being wrong feels unpleasant.

Being wrong means you’re not as smart as you thought. So you end up seeking information that confirms...

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Processing contradictory information

When it comes to information to process, it takes effort to hold opposing hypotheses and try to evaluate evidence for and against each one

So your brain optimizes for the fastes...

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Instinctive reactions

To fight back against cognitive biases, you need to evaluate your instinctive reactions.

The next time you run across facts that completely confirm your worldview, stop. Think about th...

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Cognitive biases

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We don't always see things as they are. We don't simply glean information through the senses and act on it; inste...

Optimism Bias

Is our tendency to overestimate the odds of our own success compared to other people's. 

Overly optimistic predictions can be dangerous, leading us to waste time and resources pursuing unrealistic goals. In the real world of business, things don't always work out for the best, and it serves us well to know when conditions are not on our side.

How to control the optimism bias

  • Be skeptical of your own rosy expectations for your work. 
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The backfire effect

Is a cognitive bias and it means that showing people evidence which proves that they are wrong is often ineffective, and can actually end up backfiring, by causing them to support their o...

Why the backfire effect appears

People experience  as a result of the process that they go through when they encounter information that contradicts their preexisting beliefs.

When people argue strongly enough against unwelcome information, they end up, in their mind, with more arguments that support their original stance.

Reducing other people’s backfire effect

If you’re trying to explain to someone the issues with their stance, you can mitigate the backfire effect by presenting new information in a way that encourages the other person to consider and internalize that information, instead of rejecting it outright.

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Decision-making errors

Most decision-making errors boil down to:

  • logical fallacies (over-generalizations, comparing apples and oranges, circular thinking)
  • limiting beliefs (underes...

Confirmation Bias

If you already have an opinion about something before you've even tried to figure it out, chances are you'll over-value information that confirms that opinion.

Think about what kinds of information you would expect to find to support alternative outcomes.

Attribution Bias

The “fundamental attribution error,” is when we excuse our own mistakes but blame other people for theirs.

Give other people the chance to explain themselves before judging their behavior.

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