Each human processes information differently. The brain is an intricate part of who people are. It’s always accumulating new information and learning from the past. But what happens when some people fail to retain new information and instead stick to everything they already know?
This idea is known as confirmation bias. Continue reading to gain a better understanding of the concept and how you can avoid it.
What Is Confirmation Bias?
Confirmation bias is a form of cognitive bias that causes people to favor information that pairs with their pre-existing beliefs or knowledge. People may ignore outside knowledge or are oblivious to certain educational information because the ideas do not coincide with their existing beliefs.
People may rely on stereotypes and personal biases to interpret new information. It can be a selective process that makes it difficult for people to take in a different understanding of valuable information that strays from their existing thoughts.
The brain strives to seek out information that pairs with their current thoughts, beliefs, and values. It makes sense of new information through the eyes of existing knowledge. Therefore, confirmation bias cause people to see things how they want to see them instead of how they truly are. This limits mental growth and creates dilemmas in various situations.
Example of Confirmation Bias in the Workplace
An employee works very hard on a project collecting data. This data is essential to determine how the company will approach its next project. The employee has a theory about how the numbers will file in. However, once the data is finalized, they soon learn their projection was incorrect.
Even with the numbers in front of them, the employee refuses to believe their previous theory was incorrect. They decide to continue with the original plan for the project and ignore the data because it didn’t line up with their original thought.
Example of Confirmation Bias in Everyday Life
A new neighbor just moved in next door. You adopted an adorable and loving dog that just so happens to be a pit bull. When you meet your new neighbor, your dog comes outside and pays them a visit to say hello. The neighbor panics and runs away from your sweet pup.
As time goes on, your dog proves that they’re a sweet animal and not vicious. However, due to the news stories your neighbor listens to, they believe all pit bulls are dangerous. They refuse to change their views of your dog no matter how many positive interactions they have together.
How Can You Avoid Confirmation Bias?
It’s difficult to change people’s minds or provide new information when they’re simply unwilling. In both the professional setting and everyday life, confirmation bias tests relationships.
If you want to avoid developing confirmation bias yourself and help others understand, it’s essential to always stay open to new ideas. Being open-minded is one of the best ways to improve decision-making because you remain willing to listen to others and be as informed as possible. Conducting yourself in such a manner will set an example for others.
Try not to allow existing ideas to impact your judgment. Gather as much information as you can in every new situation. Whether you’re a manager making choices for a team or you’re having a casual discussion with a friend, you should always listen carefully before reaching a conclusion. Active listening will give you time to compose your thoughts and stay aware of any lingering biases in your mind.