Confirmation Bias and How to Avoid It
Table of Contents
We have the need to be right and to make others wrong. We trust what we believe, and our beliefs set us up for suffering. (Location 197)
Being firm about a goal to achieve and having an open mind are not mutually exclusive.
I’ve often noticed that many of the notes people take are of ideas they already know, already agree with, or could have guessed. We have a natural bias as humans to seek evidence that confirms what we already believe, a well-studied phenomenon known as “confirmation bias.”6 That isn’t what a Second Brain is for. The renowned information theorist Claude Shannon, whose discoveries paved the way for modern technology, had a simple definition for “information”: that which surprises you. If you’re not surprised, then you already knew it at some level, so why take note of it? Surprise is an excellent barometer for information that doesn’t fit neatly into our existing understanding, which means it has the potential to change how we think. (Location 884)
This is why viewpoint diversity is so essential in any group of scholars. Each professor is—like all human beings—a flawed thinker with a strong preference for believing that his or her own ideas are right. Each scholar suffers from the confirmation bias—the tendency to search vigorously for evidence that confirms what one already believes One of the most brilliant features of universities is that, when they are working properly, they are communities of scholars who cancel out one another’s confirmation biases. Even if professors often cannot see the flaws in their own arguments, other professors and students do them the favor of finding such flaws. The community of scholars then judges which ideas survive the debate. We can call this process institutionalized disconfirmation. (Location 2006)
Ejectability, is the capability of embracing a decision around a need but always keeping the necessary tools to be able to replace that decision with any equality fit to the need
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