Critical Thinking

Cognitive Bias: Confirmation Bias

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Until your experience develops enough to know when you can trust your instincts and challenge you assumptions, you need to learn how to manage it and reduce how often you jump to conclusions.

Our thoughts are tainted by our experiences and our minds are influenced by a myriad of biases and heuristics. By understanding these biases and through deliberate practice, we’re going to learn how to limit their effects on our judgements.

Confirmation Bias

 

For aspiring superthinkers, the most damaging fallacy is confirmation bias; when gathering and analysing evidence, it’s important to stay objective. If you’ve got absolutely no idea about the situation, then this can be a little easier, but if you’ve already formed a hypothesis, chances are you’ll fall into the trap.

Confirmation bias is when you ignore evidence that proves your hypothesis wrong and only seek or pay attention to evidence that supports your hypothesis.

University students are particularly susceptible to this when writing essays. They often tend to form an argument and then hunt for theories to back up their claims – I know this because I’ve done it myself.

Being aware of confirmation bias and reminding yourself of its existence can on its own make you take a step back, but in the next section, we’ll explore some tools which help you to avoid a blinkered approach.

 

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