Confirmation, cognitive, cognitive dissonance, double blind, memory, anchoring, illusion of control, and familiarity biases explained:
Confirmation bias in psychology and cognitive science, confirmation bias (or confirmatory bias) is a tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions, leading to statistical errors. Confirmation bias is a type of cognitive bias and represents an error of inductive inference toward confirmation of the hypothesis under study. 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 under-weigh evidence that could disconfirm their hypothesis. As such, it can be thought of as a form of selection bias in collecting evidence.
Cognitive bias is any of a wide range of observer effects identified in cognitive science and social psychology including very basic statistical, social attribution, and memory errors that are common to all human beings. Biases drastically skew the reliability of anecdotal and legal evidence. Social biases, usually called attributional biases, affect our everyday social interactions. And biases related to probability and decision making significantly affect the scientific method which is deliberately designed to minimize such bias from any one observer.
Cognitive dissonance is a psychological term describing the uncomfortable tension that may result from having two conflicting thoughts at the same time, or from engaging in behavior that conflicts with one’s beliefs, or from experiencing apparently conflicting phenomena. In simple terms, it can be the filtering of information that conflicts with what you already believe, in an effort to ignore that information and reinforce your beliefs. In detailed terms, it is the perception of incompatibility between two cognitions, where “cognition” is defined as any element of knowledge, including attitude, emotion, belief, or behavior. The theory of cognitive dissonance states that contradicting cognitions serve as a driving force that compels the mind to acquire or invent new thoughts or beliefs, or to modify existing beliefs, so as to reduce the amount of dissonance (conflict) between cognitions. Experiments have attempted to quantify this hypothetical drive. Some of these have examined how beliefs often change to match behavior when beliefs and behavior are in conflict.
Double Blind bias is an important part of the scientific method, used to prevent research outcomes from being ‘influenced’ by the placebo effect or observer bias. Blinded research is an important tool in many fields of research, from medicine, to psychology and the social sciences, to forensics. Blinding is a basic tool to prevent conscious and unconscious bias in research.
Memory bias may either enhance or impair the recall of memory, or they may alter the content of what we report remembering. There are many memory biases including the humor effect, positivity effect and the generation effect. The humor effect states that humorous items are more easily remembered than non-humorous ones. Positivity effects states that older adults favor positive over negative information in their memories. Generation effect states that self-generated information is remembered best.
Anchoring bias in decision-making or focalism is a term used in psychology to describe the common human tendency to rely too heavily, or “anchor,” on one trait or piece of information when making decisions. During normal decision making, individuals anchor, or overly rely, on specific information or a specific value and then adjust to that value to account for other elements of the circumstance. Usually once the anchor is set, there is a bias toward that value. Take, for example, a person looking to buy a used car – they may focus excessively on the odometer reading and the year of the car, and use those criteria as a basis for evaluating the value of the car, rather than considering how well the engine or the transmission is maintained.
Illusion of control is the tendency for human beings to believe they can control or at least influence outcomes that they demonstrably have no influence over. The predominant paradigm in research on unrealistic perceived control has been Ellen Langer’s (1975) ‘illusion of control’. Langer showed that people often behave as if chance events are accessible to personal control. In a series of experiments, Langer demonstrated first the prevalence of the illusion of control and second, that people were more likely to behave as if they could exercise control in a chance situation where ‘skill cues’ were present. By skill cues, Langer meant properties of the situation more normally associated with the exercise of skill, in particular the exercise of choice, competition, familiarity with the stimulus and involvement in decisions. One simple form of this fallacy is found in casinos: when rolling dice in craps, it has been shown that people tend to throw harder for high numbers and softer for low numbers.
Familiarity increases liking or Exposure effect is a psychological artifact well known to advertisers: people express undue liking for things merely because they are familiar with them. This effect has been nicknamed the “familiarity breeds liking” effect. In interpersonal attractiveness research studies, the term exposure principle is used to characterize the phenomenon in which the more often a person is seen by someone the more attractive and intelligent that person appears to be.