Confirmation Bias

We unconsciously seek and evaluate information that supports our own ideas. This is called confirmation bias. For example, we tend to look for news from sources that lean in our direction politically. Thus, what we see and hear confirms our own belief system. We are (usually) either not exposed to opposing views that might give us a more balanced understanding of the issues, or we choose to discount them. It has been shown through dozens of studies that reason bows to belief in virtually all cases. This is most noticeably true in the cases of politics and religion, but confirmation biases exist in every area where a position and/or opinion needs support.  This leads to a worldview that supports the idea of them and us. “They” are so messed up! “We,” on the other hand, are the souls of ethical behavior and correct thinking.

We hang out with people who confirm our thoughts and positions. Even those of us who consider ourselves to be radical thinkers discuss our ideas with other so-called radicals and fail to consider that they are just as confirmed in their biased positions as we are.  Is it any wonder that the world is such a mess? We have brought stone-age tribal thinking into a global arena.

It pays to consider confirmation bias as it applies to our recovery. Do we seek what we want to hear? Do we consider opposing viewpoints? Do we deify decades old information, while ignoring advances that have been made in the meantime? Do we use cutting-edge computers to confirm old ideas, or are we open to the possibility that advances have occurred in areas other than electronics?

How do I think the concept of confirmation bias  bears on my denial and recovery process? Do I choose my information to be comfortable, or to expand my mind? How about on my evaluation of my program, and other programs? Am I really as good at reasoning as I think I am?  Will I pooh-pooh this post because I’m a “reasonable” person and I know I’m right?

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