exercises in compound storytelling

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

confirmation bias

I mentioned this on Twitter when it showed up on the WNYC On The Media podcast, but then it showed up again on WFMU's Beware of the Blog, so I'm going to mention it here:
  • People who have entrenched ideas tend to dig in deeper when confronted with contrary evidence.
  • People tend to focus on others' tendency toward confirmation bias rather than their own.
I have no analysis here (well, other than the second bullet above). I'm tempted to label the opposite tendency as "humility." Or possibly "self-doubt."

Here's a late update: the Washington Post article by Shankar Vedantam, referencing work by John Bullock (Yale University), Brendan Nyhan (Duke University), and Jason Reifler (Georgia State University). All the research deals with contentious (political) subjects; I don't know how the findings would fare if they tried to control for the sense of helplessness or whatever that people experience when discussing political issues.

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