How to protect against confirmation bias

Confirmation bias is a cognitive bias where individuals tend to seek out and favor information that confirms their pre-existing beliefs or attitudes. This can lead to distorted beliefs and decision making because it makes people more likely to ignore information that contradicts their beliefs.

To protect against confirmation bias when making decisions:

  1. Seek out multiple sources of information: Look for information from a variety of sources to reduce the chance of being exposed only to information that supports your existing beliefs.
  2. Consider alternative perspectives: Try to understand the reasoning behind opposing views, and consider the evidence they present.
  3. Challenge your assumptions: Regularly question your own beliefs to make sure they remain valid and accurate.
  4. Seek out evidence that disconfirms your beliefs: Make a deliberate effort to seek out information that contradicts your beliefs and consider it objectively.
  5. Work with people who have different perspectives: Having diverse perspectives in a decision-making process can reduce the influence of confirmation bias.

An example of confirmation bias is when someone holds a strong belief about a political issue and only seeks out news sources or information that supports their belief, while disregarding or discounting information that contradicts it.

For instance, a person who supports a certain political candidate might only follow news outlets that are known to be supportive of that candidate, and ignore or dismiss news sources that are critical. This selective information gathering reinforces the person's pre-existing belief, while ignoring alternative perspectives and potential weaknesses in their candidate's arguments.

Confirmation bias can affect people's opinions and decisions in many areas of life, including politics, personal relationships, and even scientific and technical fields.

Protecting yourself against this bias means you are more likely to take new and important  information into account when making decisions.