More dull, but safer (although I wonder if I was having withdrawal symptoms earlier? As I have been saying, bad habits are hard to break.)
Anyway let's examine: BIAS. Specifically, I mean the topic of Confirmation Bias, previously mentioned (and linked) in my prior entry about Groupthink.
And now for the (practically) obligatory Wikipedia Quote and Link:
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Confirmation bias is a type of statistical bias describing the tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one's preconceptions. In inductive inference, confirmation bias is a type of cognitive bias toward confirmation of the hypothesis under study. To compensate for this observed human tendency, the scientific method is constructed so that we must try to disprove our hypotheses. See falsifiability.
Confirmation bias is a phenomenon wherein decision makers have been shown to actively seek out and assign more weight to evidence that confirms their hypothesis, and ignore or underweigh evidence that could disconfirm their hypothesis. As such, it can be thought of as a form of selection bias in collecting evidence.
Some have argued that confirmation bias may be the cause of self-perpetuating and self-fulfilling social beliefs.
This bias may occur at least partially because negatives are inherently more difficult to process mentally than positives.
More recent studies, however, have shown that while confirmation bias tends to be present as an initial condition, the repeated presentation of disconfirmatory data induces changes in theoretical thinking. In other words, the initial disconfirmatory data are regarded as the result of error, or some other externally attributed factor; it is only after similar results or data are repeatedly obtained that a change in causal reasoning strategies occurs.
So we are talking about something that the allegedly best and brightest of minds can fall prey to. Guess that sort of cuts down on the embarrassment factor, when we lesser minds seek to "confirm" with data what we already believe. And I do find that last graph interesting. Or disconcerting. Now I mean disconcerting, in the sense that if the Barbarian Hordes on both sides of the Great American Socio-Political Divide take that to heart, and keep up the mindless bickering and harping and sniping at each other, there is no hope in sight for an end to hostilities.
However, a possible result is that relatively equal numbers of folk will switch sides, perhaps? Like when pro sports players (or even fans) switch teams and start supporting the Tiger Team with the same fervor they supported the Bird Team?
Yecch. I don't see any way out of this Kafkaesque nightmare.
(Ya might think I have been planning to use that word, Kafkaesque, for some time, but I swear it just came to me. I usually bang these suckers out ad-lib style. HONEST!!!)