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They were also given further statements that made the apparent contradiction seem reasonable. From these three pieces of information, they had to decide whether or not each individual's statements were inconsistent. In this experiment, the participants made their judgments while in a magnetic resonance imaging MRI scanner which monitored their brain activity. As participants evaluated contradictory statements by their favored candidate, emotional centers of their brains were aroused. This did not happen with the statements by the other figures.

The experimenters inferred that the different responses to the statements were not due to passive reasoning errors. Instead, the participants were actively reducing the cognitive dissonance induced by reading about their favored candidate's irrational or hypocritical behavior. Biases in belief interpretation are persistent, regardless of intelligence level.

Participants in an experiment took the SAT test a college admissions test used in the United States to assess their intelligence levels. They then read information regarding safety concerns for vehicles, and the experimenters manipulated the national origin of the car. American participants provided their opinion if the car should be banned on a six-point scale, where one indicated "definitely yes" and six indicated "definitely no". Participants firstly evaluated if they would allow a dangerous German car on American streets and a dangerous American car on German streets.

Participants believed that the dangerous German car on American streets should be banned more quickly than the dangerous American car on German streets. There was no difference among intelligence levels at the rate participants would ban a car.

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Biased interpretation is not restricted to emotionally significant topics. In another experiment, participants were told a story about a theft. They had to rate the evidential importance of statements arguing either for or against a particular character being responsible. When they hypothesized that character's guilt, they rated statements supporting that hypothesis as more important than conflicting statements. People may remember evidence selectively to reinforce their expectations, even if they gather and interpret evidence in a neutral manner.

This effect is called "selective recall", "confirmatory memory", or "access-biased memory". Schema theory predicts that information matching prior expectations will be more easily stored and recalled than information that does not match. In one study, participants read a profile of a woman which described a mix of introverted and extroverted behaviors.

One group was told this was to assess the woman for a job as a librarian, while a second group were told it was for a job in real estate sales. There was a significant difference between what these two groups recalled, with the "librarian" group recalling more examples of introversion and the "sales" groups recalling more extroverted behavior. Another group were told the opposite. In a subsequent, apparently unrelated study, participants were asked to recall events from their lives in which they had been either introverted or extroverted.

Each group of participants provided more memories connecting themselves with the more desirable personality type, and recalled those memories more quickly. Changes in emotional states can also influence memory recall. Simpson had been acquitted of murder charges. Results indicated that participants' assessments for Simpson's guilt changed over time. The more that participants' opinion of the verdict had changed, the less stable were the participant's memories regarding their initial emotional reactions. When participants recalled their initial emotional reactions two months and a year later, past appraisals closely resembled current appraisals of emotion.

People demonstrate sizable myside bias when discussing their opinions on controversial topics. Myside bias has been shown to influence the accuracy of memory recall. Participants noted a higher experience of grief at six months rather than at five years.

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Yet, when the participants were asked after five years how they had felt six months after the death of their significant other, the intensity of grief participants recalled was highly correlated with their current level of grief. Individuals appear to utilize their current emotional states to analyze how they must have felt when experiencing past events.

One study showed how selective memory can maintain belief in extrasensory perception ESP. Half of each group were told that the experimental results supported the existence of ESP, while the others were told they did not.

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In a subsequent test, participants recalled the material accurately, apart from believers who had read the non-supportive evidence. This group remembered significantly less information and some of them incorrectly remembered the results as supporting ESP. Myside bias was once believed to be correlated with intelligence; however, studies have shown that myside bias can be more influenced by ability to rationally think as opposed to level of intelligence.

Studies have stated that myside bias is an absence of "active open-mindedness", meaning the active search for why an initial idea may be wrong. A study has found individual differences in myside bias. This study investigates individual differences that are acquired through learning in a cultural context and are mutable.

The researcher found important individual difference in argumentation. Studies have suggested that individual differences such as deductive reasoning ability, ability to overcome belief bias, epistemological understanding, and thinking disposition are significant predictors of the reasoning and generating arguments, counterarguments, and rebuttals. A study by Christopher Wolfe and Anne Britt also investigated how participants' views of "what makes a good argument? The participants were randomly assigned to write essays either for or against their preferred side of an argument and were given research instructions that took either a balanced or an unrestricted approach.

The balanced-research instructions directed participants to create a "balanced" argument, i. Overall, the results revealed that the balanced-research instructions significantly increased the incidence of opposing information in arguments. These data also reveal that personal belief is not a source of myside bias; however, that those participants, who believe that a good argument is one that is based on facts, are more likely to exhibit myside bias than other participants.

This evidence is consistent with the claims proposed in Baron's article—that people's opinions about what makes good thinking can influence how arguments are generated. Before psychological research on confirmation bias, the phenomenon had been observed throughout history. Beginning with the Greek historian Thucydides c. Thomas Aquinas cautions Dante upon meeting in Paradise, "opinion—hasty—often can incline to the wrong side, and then affection for one's own opinion binds, confines the mind".

Untruth naturally afflicts historical information. There are various reasons that make this unavoidable. One of them is partisanship for opinions and schools. Prejudice and partisanship obscure the critical faculty and preclude critical investigation. The result is that falsehoods are accepted and transmitted. In the Novum Organum , English philosopher and scientist Francis Bacon — [47] noted that biased assessment of evidence drove "all superstitions, whether in astrology, dreams, omens, divine judgments or the like". The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion And though there be a greater number and weight of instances to be found on the other side, yet these it either neglects or despises, or else by some distinction sets aside or rejects[.

In the second volume of his The World as Will and Representation , German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer observed that "An adopted hypothesis gives us lynx-eyes for everything that confirms it and makes us blind to everything that contradicts it. I know that most men—not only those considered clever, but even those who are very clever, and capable of understanding most difficult scientific, mathematical, or philosophic problems—can very seldom discern even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as to oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions they have formed, perhaps with much difficulty—conclusions of which they are proud, which they have taught to others, and on which they have built their lives.

The term "confirmation bias" was coined by English psychologist Peter Wason. At the outset, they were told that 2,4,6 fits the rule. Participants could generate their own triples and the experimenter told them whether or not each triple conformed to the rule. While the actual rule was simply "any ascending sequence", the participants had a great deal of difficulty in finding it, often announcing rules that were far more specific, such as "the middle number is the average of the first and last".

For example, if they thought the rule was, "Each number is two greater than its predecessor," they would offer a triple that fit this rule, such as 11,13,15 rather than a triple that violates it, such as 11,12, Wason accepted falsificationism , according to which a scientific test of a hypothesis is a serious attempt to falsify it. He interpreted his results as showing a preference for confirmation over falsification, hence the term "confirmation bias".

It has been found repeatedly that people perform badly on various forms of this test, in most cases ignoring information that could potentially refute the rule. However, a paper by Klayman and Ha argued that the Wason experiments had not actually demonstrated a bias towards confirmation, but instead a tendency to make tests consistent with the working hypothesis.

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According to these ideas, each answer to a question yields a different amount of information, which depends on the person's prior beliefs. Thus a scientific test of a hypothesis is one that is expected to produce the most information. Since the information content depends on initial probabilities, a positive test can either be highly informative or uninformative. Klayman and Ha argued that when people think about realistic problems, they are looking for a specific answer with a small initial probability.

In this case, positive tests are usually more informative than negative tests. Klayman and Ha supported their analysis by citing an experiment that used the labels "DAX" and "MED" in place of "fits the rule" and "doesn't fit the rule". This avoided implying that the aim was to find a low-probability rule. Participants had much more success with this version of the experiment. In light of this and other critiques, the focus of research moved away from confirmation versus falsification of an hypothesis, and to examine whether people test hypotheses in an informative way, or an uninformative but positive way.

The search for "true" confirmation bias led psychologists to look at a wider range of effects in how people process information. Confirmation bias is often described as a result of automatic, unintentional strategies rather than deliberate deception. According to Robert MacCoun , most biased evidence processing occurs through a combination of both "cold" cognitive and "hot" motivated mechanisms. Cognitive explanations for confirmation bias are based on limitations in people's ability to handle complex tasks, and the shortcuts, called heuristics , that they use.

This heuristic avoids the difficult or impossible task of working out how diagnostic each possible question will be. However, it is not universally reliable, so people can overlook challenges to their existing beliefs. Motivational explanations involve an effect of desire on belief , sometimes called " wishful thinking ". According to experiments that manipulate the desirability of the conclusion, people demand a high standard of evidence for unpalatable ideas and a low standard for preferred ideas.


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In other words, they ask, "Can I believe this? Explanations in terms of cost-benefit analysis assume that people do not just test hypotheses in a disinterested way, but assess the costs of different errors. For example, employers might ask one-sided questions in job interviews because they are focused on weeding out unsuitable candidates.

For instance, someone who underestimates a friend's honesty might treat him or her suspiciously and so undermine the friendship. Overestimating the friend's honesty may also be costly, but less so. In this case, it would be rational to seek, evaluate or remember evidence of their honesty in a biased way. Highly self-monitoring students, who are more sensitive to their environment and to social norms , asked more matching questions when interviewing a high-status staff member than when getting to know fellow students.

Psychologists Jennifer Lerner and Philip Tetlock distinguish two different kinds of thinking process. Exploratory thought neutrally considers multiple points of view and tries to anticipate all possible objections to a particular position, while confirmatory thought seeks to justify a specific point of view. Lerner and Tetlock say that when people expect to justify their position to others whose views they already know, they will tend to adopt a similar position to those people, and then use confirmatory thought to bolster their own credibility.

However, if the external parties are overly aggressive or critical, people will disengage from thought altogether, and simply assert their personal opinions without justification. Developmental psychologist Eve Whitmore has argued that beliefs and biases involved in confirmation bias have their roots in childhood coping through make-believe, which becomes "the basis for more complex forms of self-deception and illusion into adulthood.

Confirmation bias can lead investors to be overconfident, ignoring evidence that their strategies will lose money.

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For example, participants who interpreted a candidate's debate performance in a neutral rather than partisan way were more likely to profit. Raymond Nickerson, a psychologist, blames confirmation bias for the ineffective medical procedures that were used for centuries before the arrival of scientific medicine. Biased assimilation is a factor in the modern appeal of alternative medicine , whose proponents are swayed by positive anecdotal evidence but treat scientific evidence hyper-critically. Beck in the early s and has become a popular approach. Nickerson argues that reasoning in judicial and political contexts is sometimes subconsciously biased, favoring conclusions that judges, juries or governments have already committed to.

The prediction that jurors will become more extreme in their views as they see more evidence has been borne out in experiments with mock trials. Confirmation bias can be a factor in creating or extending conflicts, from emotionally charged debates to wars: by interpreting the evidence in their favor, each opposing party can become overconfident that it is in the stronger position. Navy Admiral Husband E. Kimmel showed confirmation bias when playing down the first signs of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. A two-decade study of political pundits by Philip E. Tetlock found that, on the whole, their predictions were not much better than chance.

Tetlock divided experts into "foxes" who maintained multiple hypotheses, and "hedgehogs" who were more dogmatic. In general, the hedgehogs were much less accurate. Tetlock blamed their failure on confirmation bias—specifically, their inability to make use of new information that contradicted their existing theories. A distinguishing feature of scientific thinking is the search for falsifying as well as confirming evidence. However, many times in the history of science , scientists have resisted new discoveries by selectively interpreting or ignoring unfavorable data. It has been found several times that scientists rate studies that report findings consistent with their prior beliefs more favorably than studies reporting findings inconsistent with their previous beliefs.

In the context of scientific research, confirmation biases can sustain theories or research programs in the face of inadequate or even contradictory evidence; [56] [] the field of parapsychology has been particularly affected. An experimenter's confirmation bias can potentially affect which data are reported. Data that conflict with the experimenter's expectations may be more readily discarded as unreliable, producing the so-called file drawer effect.

To combat this tendency, scientific training teaches ways to prevent bias. Social psychologists have identified two tendencies in the way people seek or interpret information about themselves. Self-verification is the drive to reinforce the existing self-image and self-enhancement is the drive to seek positive feedback. Both are served by confirmation biases. One factor in the appeal of alleged psychic readings is that listeners apply a confirmation bias which fits the psychic's statements to their own lives.

This is one of the techniques of cold reading , with which a psychic can deliver a subjectively impressive reading without any prior information about the client. As a striking illustration of confirmation bias in the real world, Nickerson mentions numerological pyramidology : the practice of finding meaning in the proportions of the Egyptian pyramids.

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Hence it is almost inevitable that people who look at these numbers selectively will find superficially impressive correspondences, for example with the dimensions of the Earth. When people with opposing views interpret new information in a biased way, their views can move even further apart. This is called "attitude polarization".


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The experimenters looked at what happened when balls of alternating color were drawn in turn, a sequence that does not favor either basket. University of Washington. Objective of the technology or device: Surgical site infections SSI are a major source of preventable morbidity, mortality, and healthcare expenditures. As hospital stays have become shorter, most SSIs now occur after discharge, but before the first clinic follow-up visit, leaving the onus on patients to identify wound problems, and to initiate contact with their providers.

While post-discharge SSI is associated with up to a six-fold increased risk of hospital readmission and three-fold risk of death, there are no established standardized or reliable methods for post-discharge SSI surveillance. Patient-reported data are encrypted and transmitted to a secure database on a HIPAA-compliant server. The provider-facing web dashboard allows clinicians to serially track single or multiple patients, and visualize changes in patient-reported symptoms and wound images.

Patient users were characterized as generally comfortable with technology, and most had brought their phone to clinic on the day they registered for the app. Feedback from both provider and patient users informed the development of a series of instructional videos and support materials. Likewise, through serial symptom and photo monitoring, patients meeting expected post-discharge milestones may avoid unnecessary follow up visits.