Confirmation bias (also called confirmatory bias or myside bias) is a tendency for people to favor information that confirms their preconceptions or hypotheses regardless of whether the information is true. As a result, people gather evidence and recall information from memory selectively, and interpret it in a biased way. The biases appear in particular for emotionally significant issues and for established beliefs. (source: wikipedia).
Favoring information? Now I’ve started to question whether I’m working with facts here. Theories that I’ve scrambled together in my head may or may not be true, but I have the feeling that just being aware of confirmation bias helps me prevent its effects. If I cobble up some theory and my reasoning leads me to believe it’s correct, does that mean it’s correct? Certainly not.
I can think of a lot of things, and I could put together a poor, biased logic-tree of my own (seemingly sound) reasoning and my resulting conclusions would be wrong. Quick fix?
Talking it out.
If I can take the same thought and run it by a few friends with differing perspectives to my own, and it checks out? I’d consider that a win. Certainly there’s some bias from my peer-group, but for everyday brainstorming I’m never going to have scientifically valid information. How about pseudo-science?
Bringing the idea/thought down to it’s simplest parts and try proving it correct from different perspectives. It feels like rehashing the same point, but experimenting between slightly different words with their respective slightly different meanings allows the conclusion to be honed and the impact of the statement to become unquestionably clearly conveyed.
I’m continually letting my brain run wild on the information I’ve got int here, and trying to disprove (and improve) myself. And to anyone who “proves me wrong” or in a more positive light “helps me reach a greater understanding,” thank you, and I’ll buy you a beer.