Confirmation bias is the tendency to interpret new information as confirmation of one’s existing beliefs and theories. And it is the only way to explain how Trump’s speech to the Boy Scouts can simultaneously be seen as breaking every Boy Scout rule and upholding the values of the Boy Scouts. We hear what we want to hear. Regardless of your own beliefs, you can’t listen to the daily and starkly opposing interpretations of every political news story and not be impressed with the incredible power of confirmation bias.
Of course, you might conclude that only the idiots on the opposite side of each issue are guilty of confirmation bias. You might be quite sure that your interpretation is the only rational and fact-based reaction. You’d be wrong. (more…)