Confirmation bias, also known as `myside bias’ is a kind of cognitive bias or tendency to search for, or interpret information which confirms the previous existing beliefs or hypotheses. This bias is displayed when people collect or recall information selectively or when they interpret the information in a biased manner and this effect is much stronger in emotionally charged issues as well as deeply affected beliefs.
For instance if a person is of the belief that left handed people are likely to be more creative than right handed people and when they encounter these individuals, they tend to place more importance on this piece of evidence which supports their already existing belief. Confirmation biases also have an impact on how people obtain information though they also influence how it is interpreted and remember information.
It is human tendency that when people who support or oppose a given issue will seek our information which may support their belief, while they will also tend to interpret and weave new stories which would in a way support their existing belief as well as remember other things which further reinforces these attitudes. The impact is stronger for emotionally charged matters and deeply established position.
Impacts – Process of Information
Confirmation biases are impacts in the process of information which may differ from the behavioral confirmation effects also known as self-fulfilling prophecy, wherein behavior that tends to get influenced by expectation may result in the expectations to be true.
Confirmation bias is often used by some psychologist in referring to the tendency to refrain from rejecting beliefs while looking for evidence and interpreting or recalling them from memory while others restrict the term to certain collection of evidence.
It takes place when individual seek out potentially useful opinions and facts which do not coincide with their preconceived beliefs that tends to affect their perceptions as well as decisions in in all respects of lives causing less than an optimal choice. It would be helpful in seeking people and publication of varied opinions, than our own in overcoming confirmation bias withwell informed decisions.
Wishful Thinking – Limited Human Capacity
Series of researches conduction in the 1960s indicated that people were biased in confirming their existing beliefs and later re-interpreted that these results as tendencies to test ideas in one sided track focusing on one possibility while overlooking the alternatives and in some it can bias people’s conclusions.
For the observed biases, the explanations would include wishful thinking accompanied with limited human capacity in processing information while another explanation indicates that people show confirmation bias since they are weighed up of being wrong instead of investigating in a scientific and neutral manner. It could also contribute to over confidence in personal beliefs which would strengthen beliefs with regards to contrary evidence.
Due to these decisions, poor decisions have been found in organizational and political sectors. Confirmation bias could also create problems for investors while researching an investment, they may tend to look for information which would support their beliefs on investment and overlook information which would present a better insight.
The outcome would be a one sided view of the situation and thus cause investors in making poor decision in their choice of investments of buying or selling options.