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Psychologists Views on Confirmation Bias

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A confirmation bias is an individual’s tendency to filter out information that aligns with their own existing beliefs and ideas. It is a trap that most of us fall into unknowingly. Even when evidence that contradicts our views appear in front of us, we might still tweak it to conform with our biased view.

Why do we struggle to accept information that differs from our perspective? According to research by Jennifer Lerner and Philip Tetlock, we avoid contradictory evidence because we just cannot accept the fact that we are wrong, hence choosing to ignore it. Furthermore, we tend to view more evidence that aligns itself with our own perspective, having greater exposure to what we choose to believe in. Some feel that constant evaluation of our own views is tiring, and it is much better to focus on a view rather than consider multiple views at once.

Traveling overseas is becoming or perhaps is already a norm for everyone. Then comes the question of which airline to fly with? From my personal experience, I have this impression that if a certain airline has won multiple awards (P), it is because travelers had positive experiences and gave it good reviews (Q). But if I were to bluntly take people for their word and only see it from a positive light, I might get disappointed the moment I encounter an undesirable experience. In order not to fall into the trap of confirmation bias, I tend to look at the negative side of the story (-Q).

The example above illustrates my tendency to fall into confirmation bias if I were to just see all the positive reviews of the airline. Hence, it is only apt to not only view the negative reviews but to look out for the quality and content of each review and see if it is realistic and whether it affects me, thus disconfirming the bias opinion.

I also feel that confirmation bias and pseudoscience are similar. According to the lecture summary, pseudoscientists have developed their own strong opinions on certain facts and tend to look for data that confirms their beliefs and ignores conflicting evidence.

In my other forum post, I mentioned how I was curious about Feng Shui and my hunch that it might be an example of pseudoscience. I also feel that the belief in Feng Shui is another example of how people fall into confirmation biases.

Most believers of Feng Shui hire ‘masters’ to advise them on how to best harness the ‘Qi’ of the surrounding environment to achieve their goals. As they are paying lots of money and what these ‘masters ‘say make sense to them, they tend to believe in Feng Shui, hence falling into confirmation biases. Furthermore, if their lives become more positive, they will believe Feng Shui even more and would ignore any evidence that conflicts with the authenticity of Feng Shui.

However, according to Popper, the best method to determine the authenticity of our hypothesis is if our theory is falsifiable. In the example above, the best way to falsify the hypothesis of ‘Feng Shui does not exist’ is to find evidence of Feng Shui. However, there is no evidence of the existence of Feng Shui and it is not possible to falsify the above hypothesis.

According to environmental psychologists who have analyzed Feng Shui, they concluded that there is no evidence that Feng Shui principles have any measurable effect on humans. There is also no evidence of the existence of ‘Qi’ and without ‘Qi’, there is no Feng Shui.

Therefore, this research by the environmental psychologists acted as evidence to prove that Feng Shui does not exist, disconfirming the people’s beliefs. It also proves that Feng Shui is indeed a pseudoscience rather than science, as the falsifiable theory is not possible.  

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Psychologists Views On Confirmation Bias. (2021, May 31). GradesFixer. Retrieved December 8, 2022, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/psychologists-views-on-confirmation-bias/
“Psychologists Views On Confirmation Bias.” GradesFixer, 31 May 2021, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/psychologists-views-on-confirmation-bias/
Psychologists Views On Confirmation Bias. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/psychologists-views-on-confirmation-bias/> [Accessed 8 Dec. 2022].
Psychologists Views On Confirmation Bias [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2021 May 31 [cited 2022 Dec 8]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/psychologists-views-on-confirmation-bias/
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