As a general rule, human beings like to read or hear opinions that are the same as ours. This is the reason why we usually read newspapers that share our political ideology and why we like to be surrounded by people who share our tastes, values and points of view. The problem is that this tendency of the human being can affect our critical thinking by falling into the so-called confirmation bias. In this article we will see what this cognitive bias consists of, some examples and tips to avoid falling into confirmation bias.
What is confirmation bias?
Confirmation bias is the tendency to place a higher value on ideas or opinions that confirm our own ideas or opinions. In many cases, the confirmation bias leads to completely ignoring ideas contrary to our own, causing us to only have one point of view.
Examples of confirmation bias
An example of a confirmation bias that investors can fall into is seeking opinions in the press, blogs and forums that confirm their investment ideas, ignoring comments that think differently.
Another example may be analyzing the company's results in a particularly optimistic way. For example, to think that the company is doing well just by increasing its sales, despite the increase in its indebtedness and the fall in its profits and its cash flows.
Tips to avoid falling into confirmation bias
The best way to avoid confirmation bias is to try to objectively and carefully analyze opinions that are contrary to our own. At the very least, although it is difficult to take these opinions into account in a totally objective way, it is essential at a minimum to pay attention to these opinions and not ignore them as is often the case. If the opposing arguments are logical and make sense, we may be able to avoid erroneous reasoning and fall into this cognitive bias.
Another way to avoid confirmation bias is to try to analyze our beliefs from a contrary point of view, trying to argue as if we thought otherwise. In other words, acting as “Devil's lawyer”. This method is ideal for checking the strength of our reasoning and identifying its main weaknesses.