Confirmation Bias is the leading cause of conflict, discord, and poor judgement, but it doesn’t deserve all the credit because confirmation bias isn’t a solo act. It works in concert with cognitive dissonance and the Heuristic1 Gang, a notorious band of biases. These cognitive outlaws rob us of our good senses and peddle a counterfeit currency, false logic.
The most important subliminal influences in life are the ones operating in the mechanics of your mind.Food for Thought
Confirmation Bias in the Buff
What would you think about someone who makes you seem like you’re always right on target? He makes you feel like your a cool-cat, the smartest person around!
The problem is that this guy isn’t only the ultimate yes man he’s got some nasty habits. His habits aren’t closeted either, they infect the environment and have a tendency to go viral.
He’s a bit of a trickster who hides the things you need the most. He’s the one who keeps you from finding the information you need to clearly assess the most important decisions in your life?
While he’s buttering you up with sweet sounding platitudes, his lies, manipulation, and deceit are causing havoc, sowing dissent and delivering a major dose of hurt into the places that hurt the most.
The guy can’t help himself. He just loves starting fights and then pretends like he didn’t do anything out of line. It was all someone else’s fault!
He causes arguments between you and your lovers and stirs up trouble with just about everyone, your partners, friends, family and important clients!
He even throws in an extra portion of stubborn intransigence just to make sure your disagreements escalate to the extremes.
You see, provoking assault and violence is one of his favorite past-times.Continue Reading
Confirmation Bias Blindness
Confirmation Bias is easy to see in others but damn hard to notice in yourself. We’ve all encountered people who should know better but still refuse to acknowledge the overwhelming and solid proof, refuse to admit their mistakes or stubbornly cling to plain out dumb decisions.
In part, this tendency stems from the way that we make decisions.Do you believe that you’re a rational person? When you make decisions are they based on careful observation and diligent reasoning? Even though we’d like to think that we are reasonable, studies show that our decisions are not using the higher capabilities of our frontal lobe, the region of the brain that handles deliberation and reasoning.
Decisions aren’t based on logic or an analysis of the facts. They’re based on instinct and emotion, and arise from your subconscious, the primordial part of your brain.
So the fact is, we tend to ignore the facts.Continue Reading
Blind Sided by Confirmation Bias
Back in the mid-eighties, I was working like a maniac, putting in sixteen hour days on the Temple of Paradise5, my first book!
I noticed the oddest thing when I was writing. No matter what I wanted to say, something always popped up to confirm my views. Some may call it serendipity and sometimes it probably was, but it is also a clear indication that confirmation bias may be at play.
I was under the impression that confirming my suppositions, justifying my conclusions, fortifying my views was the name of the game. Don’t get me wrong, you definitely want to present a convincing argument, but not one that ignores the kinks, that doesn’t recognize and or address contrary views.
Finally, after 5 years of hard labor I finished the book. Can you imagine how good it felt? I was on top of the world. There it was the fruit of my slavish persistence.
The Temple of Paradise turned out beautiful. It was an epitome of polished prose and you know what? It was wrong!Continue Reading
How to Overcome Confirmation Bias
Confirmation Bias doesn’t just affect us individually, it effects run through our social institutions and entire branches of society. In this context, it leads to prejudice, bad science, corporate negligence, a dysfunctional legal system and extreme injustice.
These grave consequences can be diminished by implementing clear oversights, safeguards and adjusting methods and policies to offset the influence of confirmation bias and biased memory. However, the general trend seems to be in the opposite direction.
We need intelligent debate and discourse in the public arena!
Prosecuting whistleblowers, playing the pass the buck game and using bias to hook in an audience of supporters is short sighted and sure to cause even more enmity and division.
This environment is reaching a point of crisis and change is happening, albeit slowly and often behind the scenes. While we can’t expect to change our collective framework overnight, we can revolutionize our own lives.Continue Reading
References and Resources
1) Heuristics are cognitive shortcuts. They cut down the amount of resources used by the brain to solve problems and reach conclusions. While they do speed up inductive reasoning Heuristics are prone to error.
2) David McRaney, You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You’re Deluding Yourself Gotham; Reprint edition (November 6, 2012), 77
3) Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson, Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts (Mariner Books; Reprint edition (March 2008), 18
4) Leon Festinger, Henry W. Riecken, Stanley Schachter, When Prophecy Fails: Martino Fine Books (November 12, 2009), 10
5) Those first years of writing The Temple of Paradise is an amazing story, considering that the book was initially handwritten, scribed thrice and besides some awesome mentors I am largely uneducated in the conventional sense. Yet, it is a story to share at another time and place.
The Temple of Paradise is a three volume set that’s devoted to presenting the single, unified model that underlies and unites all the diverse traditions of man. It not only encompasses the wisdom of ancient spiritual traditions but also incorporates the latest scientific research in fields such as neuroscience, quantum physics, and the new biology.
After thirty years in the making, I have to admit that the Temple of Paradise still hasn’t reached the level of refinement that it had after those first five years. Yet, it is well founded and has been looked over by experts and checked for accuracy by Sanskrit Scholars from the University of California.
So, it may not be as polished or even complete, it is as correct as I could possibly make it. You are welcome to read the latest draft of the latest draft of the first volume. the Temple of Paradise for free on Issue. Just click here: The Flower of Bliss