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Confirmation Bias and Making Life Choices

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 what you already know.

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Confirmation Bias and Making Life Choices

Confirmation Bias and Making Life Choices

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

nirandfar.com

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Key Ideas

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 without you noticing.

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 beliefs
  3. How you remember things - you interpret and possibly even change memories and facts in your head based on your beliefs

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 what you already know.

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 fastest shortcut to a solution. And it’s easier to look for things that support your current belief.

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 the assumptions you’re making and look for ways to prove yourself wrong.

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Decision-making errors

Most decision-making errors boil down to:

  • logical fallacies (over-generalizations, comparing apples and oranges, circular thinking)
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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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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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