Confirmation bias – we all suffer from it but how can we reduce its effect?

Confirmation bias – we all suffer from it. It’s just part of being human. Sure, we are capable of rational thought but it is often overridden by our emotional messages. And even in the best situations, our attempt at rational thought is inevitably contaminated by our emotions.

This video from Above the Noise • PBS explains what is going on in a popular way. Even resorts to brain scans.

Word of warning, though. It inevitably suffers from its own confirmation bias. Right up front, it produces a graph comparing Facebook clicks on “fake news” articles compared with clicks on “mainstream news” articles!! As if that is a proper analysis.

We all know mainstream media regularly publishes fake news. What they are probably comparing is Facebook clicks for mainstream media articles compared with alternative media articles. That is just not an intelligent differentiation when talking about “fake news.”

So take the video with a grain of salt.  Look at it critically and intelligently.

In fact, probably the best way of avoiding, or at least reducing confirmation bias is to approach all information, from whatever source, critically and intelligently. To think for oneself. Avoid group thinking and official interpretations.

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One response to “Confirmation bias – we all suffer from it but how can we reduce its effect?

  1. David Fierstien

    It’s nice to see you are looking at PBS. Good for you.

    However, in deriding the PBS graph, you said, “We all know mainstream media regularly publishes fake news. What they are probably comparing is Facebook clicks for mainstream media articles compared with alternative media articles. That is just not an intelligent differentiation when talking about “fake news.””

    First of all, do we all know that? When the MSM is found to have reported something inaccurately, it “regularly” apologizes. (This of course gives people like Trump, who use the term “fake news” like toilet paper, the opportunity to deride MSM as fake.)

    Show me an example of alternative media making a mistake and admitting it. For example, this guy who writes The Duran, upon which you have relied as a source, said:

    “Four facts which makes me think the Trump Dossier is indeed the original source of the Russiagate collusion allegations are . . . .

    (2) that it is becoming gradually clear that the Trump Dossier was the only evidence cited to support those allegations in the classified version of the 6th January 2017 ODNI report provided to President Obama and to President elect Trump.” Endquote. http://theduran.com/another-special-counsel-investigate-real-scandal-2016-election/

    Thanks to the courage of Senator Diane Feinstein (in defiance to what Republicans were attempting to keep from public view), we now know that George Papadopoulos’ admission to an Australian diplomat was the original source of the investigation.

    Did Alexandar Mercouris come out and admit his mistake? If so, please provide the link and quote. The answer is, no, he did not. Your alternative media doesn’t take responsibility for its errors.

    As far as this from you: “What they are probably comparing is Facebook clicks for mainstream media articles compared with alternative media articles. That is just not an intelligent differentiation when talking about “fake news.””

    Of course it is. That was the point of the video. Our emotions, as opposed to our reason, guide us to seek out that which agrees with our perspective and gives us comfort. That is what a “Facebook click” is.

    Like

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