Confirmation Bias II
This topic has always fascinated me in understanding our blind spots. When we question ourselves to understand if we are in the midst of such a paradigm we acknowledge its existence. Yet while in the middle of an "event" the bias is present and we don't even know. My search to understand this phenomena has lead me down some pretty tricky paths of understanding.
One very unreasonable aspect of the bias, we apply it differently within the same context, during different events. The bias itself is protecting something we hold as sacred within our own lives. When one is intensely looking for bias it shows up everywhere within a conversation or meeting. The bias is interesting to view but is quite meaningless until risk is injected.
In my search for understanding of this very human paradigm i ran across a video of "Free Will", a project that went across several colleges and three different disciplines, Science, Philosophy and Religion. I believe the bias is part of this free will debate.
In watching the video and then some news the following day, serendipity paid a visit. A scientist within the video was performing experiments with students. At the time sequence 1:02 minutes, the researcher has a person bounce a ball and catch it along with other tasks, where other subjects are stimulated through auto-response stimulus.
The video is quite detailed and offers many points of view on the subject.
In watching the news the next day i watched a press brief by the Covid Task force. It was apparent that on both sides confirmation bias was so thick, an ice breaking ship would have trouble navigating.
The briefing showed various stimulus and how it impacted free will thoughts. The question and answers were questioning the free-will decisions of each persons confirmation bias. One person on the task force explained how a hypothetical got misinterpreted and a press person asked if they were making the statements "voluntarily". Meaning was your free will being suppressed.
We may not fully understand the concept of free will across the three disciplines but one thing is for sure, confirmation bias will forever be with humans, and we will act as though free will is a real thing. Not just some construct of evolutionary/social need.
Why is this even important?
Risk is the label we use that forms the basis for our free will to act within any given circumstance. Given various stimulus within the risk we are left with the confirmation bias the stimulus imparted. If free will is the author of our decisions and choices, then confirmation bias is part of the motivation for those choices. This is not a discussion about getting rid of the bias but rather how to live with it.
The free will video suggests, within the science discussions, that free will is a concept of the agency of humans. The physics suggest that nothing can happen without a mechanical explanation. Free-will is merely a synaptic pattern that is a social construct of belief rather than humans are an agent species. These explanations are full of experiments within a lab that explains small pieces of the human paradigm. But rest assured if someone or something is stimulating you with risk, you will raise the level of confirmation bias and execute your free will. You will choose based on something.
Humans are put together in such a way they experience and store information from their very unique experiences. This is the basis for bias in future events. The more atypical the future experience the more our bias will assert itself. Amazingly the future experience could be merely a projection of your present. Yet we will begin to establish our position with bias.
Some simple things we can do when risk is high and time is available to check for our own bias:
- Win-Win. This concept forces us to make the case for the other person, group or team. Immediately as you consider the other side winning also, you expose your biases.
- Confirmation Bias is not bad. Its how we are built. When we consider that our brain is in charge of our actions it needs short cuts to keep us safe. Biases develop to aid in this process. But like all things we have good and bad biases. They need to be tested.
- Mental debrief. After a continuous encounter we should ask ourselves what was i defending, was my position reasonable?
- One of the key statements we know establishes bias, typically starts with because styled statements. I did because you did. In this paradigm you are stating i don't have free will to choose my response. I merely respond automatically to stimulus. If your thoughts are pointing towards existential blame you are in the because zone with Confirmation Bias.