Confirmation bias

You don’t search for the best answer! Neither do the rest of us …

We all tend to search for answers that confirm what we already know!

WHY? Our brain seeks to provide us with a stable, consistent picture of the world and ourselves. Only if this works properly are we able to function as individuals and in groups. To do so, our brain steers and alters our perception respectively.

Here are some generic examples:

  • the way we listen and interpret what we hear.
  • the way we scan text or other information sources.
  • the way we select places we go to.
  • the way we choose the people we interact with.
  • the way select sources we seek answers to questions or support.

And here are some everyday examples:

  • You have probably subscribed to a newspaper that shares your political orientation.
  • When thinking of planning a family trip to a country that has a reputation for being unsafe, you might check the internet for “is country X unsafe” – well what will you find!?
  • You ask a friend if he will be on time for a meeting. He answers “I can’t tell”. Your past experience with that friend will automatically have you expect him on time or not.
  • You are talking to future users of your new weather app. Sam says “I would like to see the temperature of up to five locations within one view.” Your perception of “up to five” is totally dependent on how many you find reasonable yourself. You might see five as an edge case or a regular must-have.

So next time you talk and listen to people, seek an information source, or somehow perceive and process information, challenge yourself: Am I really trying to be as objective as possible? How am I biased by my personal viewpoint and experience?

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