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Disconfirmation bias

 

Explanations > Theories > Disconfirmation bias

Description | Research | Example | So What? | See also | References 

 

Description

When people are faced with evidence for and against their beliefs, they will be more likely to accept the evidence that supports their beliefs with little scrutiny yet criticize and reject that which disconfirms their beliefs.

Generally, we will avoid or discount evidence that might show us to be wrong.

Research

Lord, Ross and Lepper had 24 each of pro- and anti-death penalty students evaluate faked studies on capital punishment, some of which supported the death penalty and some which did not. Students concluded that the studies that supported their views were superior to those that did not.

Example

I am a scientist who is invited to investigate a haunted house. I rubbish the idea and decline the invitation. When given a paper which supports my pet theories, however, I laud the fine research with little questioning as to the methods used.

So What?

Using it

When you want to change beliefs, you may need to give significant evidence to overcome the disconfirmation bias.

Defending

Try to be open when faced with evidence and viewpoints, even if it is contrary to what you know to be true.

See also

Confirmation Bias, Hostile Media Phenomenon, Cognitive Dissonance, Beliefs

References

Edwards and Smith (1996), Lord, Ross, and Lepper (1979)

 

 

 

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