Things We Don’t Want to See – Confirmation Bias

February 24th, 2021, Silja Litvin

Confirmation Bias

We’ve all been there: judged the family member with different political opinions, based an argument off of one article you read on Google. Or joined a Facebook group supporting all your beliefs. Or rejected an applicant’s file because they simply didn’t look qualified on paper. There is so much information out there – sometimes, especially after a long day, we just don’t have the energy to go looking for it…

What is a Confirmation Bias?

A confirmation bias is forming and keeping an opinion without knowing all the facts.

Once we have an opinion of something, we start actively looking for information that supports it and discarding information that challenges it.

This can have negative effect on the choices we make in life.

Staying true to ourselves and our opinions is important – but what happens when we do it too often that we don’t learn and evolve? Do we allow relationships to go bad because we don’t want to hear different political viewpoints? Or what if we miss out on the opportunity of hiring someone pretty awesome for the role? What happens when a courtesy bias leaves us feeling isolated? 

There are a several ways with dealing with a confirmation bias, and it’s the way you deal with above situations habitually:

How to Deal With Confirmation Bias

Beneficial: Challenging our biases 

Less Beneficial: Ignoring our biases 

Non-beneficial: Strengthening our biases. After all, you know best…

There is a time to defend our arguments, even when we don’t have all the information to back it up – political arguements all day long (ugh!) can really make you want to pull your hair out. But there’s also a time to research, listen and research again before forming a strong and effective argument, even if it means changing your beliefs.  

This week’s challenge: 

The next time you feel strongly about your own opinion, try to listen to other people’s beliefs [and how they can contribute to your own]! Try joining different online groups or research opposing arguments – fact checking can be god-sent. If you’re having a little bit of a tough start, take it one baby step at a time. It’s ok to change your mind – it does not mean that you are losing your identity, it simply means that you are open to growth. Be mindful to use external sources to help you – and not dictate your argument.  

Have a great week, Lodestar!

Silja Litvin

Psychologist and Founder of PsycApps