According to Wikipedia.org, Confirmation Bias is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor and recall information in a way that confirms one’s preexisting beliefs or hypotheses.
Confirmation bias occurs when you see or hear something that you believe is already true, even though, it may not be at all true.
People who are struggling economically in our changing economy may blame illegal immigrants and minorities for their predicament, rather than automation, globalization, entry-level jobs that require a higher skill set and the dismantling of labor unions.
People who feel that taxes and healthcare costs are too high may also blame immigrants, minorities, welfare recipients and big government, rather than big tax cuts to the wealthy that don’t trickle down but are instead used for stock buybacks that only make the rich richer, big pharma that outlandishly overcharges for life saving drugs to only enrich themselves and the fact the government has been overtaken by the wealthy class who does not effectively represent the majority of Americans.
The struggling working class has come to believe that big government is the cause of their problems, when in fact deregulation has caused much of the unfairness that currently exists in our economy. Deregulated lending and mortgages resulted in countless foreclosures for hard-working families and the 2008 financial crisis (and remember it was hardworking Americans who bailed out the bankers who got rich causing the crisis and who went unpunished). The deregulation of the airlines resulted in the loss of thousands of good paying jobs that included healthcare and pensions. Deregulated campaign finance has allowed the ultra-wealthy to have unfair influence in our elections and in passing policies that favor the rich at the expense of the majority. These are just a few examples of the problems caused by deregulation.
We need a bigger, truly representative government that is fair for all Americans and that supports the common good. We need campaign finance reform and finance regulation. We all need to invest in infrastructure, education and healthcare. We need to stop the few that are robbing the country of its resources that should be used for the common good of our democracy. Blaming people who are in the same boat as us rather than the captain who is steering the boat and keeping all the spoils for himself.
Be aware of your confirmation bias and fact check what you see or hear even if it agrees with your pre-existing beliefs.
2 thoughts on “Confirmation Bias: What does it mean and how does it affect our thinking?”
Confirmation bias is an ingrained human failing. Something all people seem to suffer from mainly because it builds social structure with our neighbors and friends. It is true most issues have many sides and perspectives. Usually each side has a valuable perspective. Let us look at the issue of airline deregulation.
Jimmy Carter’s congress deregulated the airlines in 1978. The law allowed the airlines the independence to set their own fare prices and routes. Regulated fares allowed airlines to prosper but sadly it kept fares high and airlines could not operate efficiently. Economist Alfred Kahn of Cornell university did a study of the airline industry and found that breaking up the industry structure would create new airlines lower fares and promote competition. Most airlines opposed deregulation because deregulation increased airport congestion, and it eliminated many non stop flights. If a airline dominated a hub it would cause a lack of competition . They were many deregulation positives; new airlines were formed, competition drove fares down , and passengers flocked to airlines in record numbers.
Unfortunately although many ideologies have good opposing positions some don’t. Lets discuss the Trump steel tariffs. The New York Times example says CP industries was forced to rise it price on steel cylinders. Because of the tariff on Chinese steel. CP industries has received its first bill of $178,703 from the 25 per cent steel tariff. Michael Larsen the companies chief mused “How long can the company last when we have to pay for the hefty cost of steel”. Foreign competition is already swooping in to lure away CP Industries clients. Mr Larsen feels he will lose business to his main competitor a Chinese company who imports steel cylinders not subject to the tariff.
Economists warning about protectionist policies is. Tariffs to protect one industry is a tax on all its customers. Many high tech industries in auto and electronics will past the cost . Many quarters quarters support the steel tax.These include many working class trump supporters and steel unions but for the reasons expressed above tariffs are a bad policy. Trying to save a dinosaur at the cost of cutting industries is wrong
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Thanks for your informed comments. Many implemented good intentions have negative unintended consequences.