The horse, with blinders on – filters out any unnecessary information, and for us, inconvenient information that conflicts with what we want to keep intact for ourselves.
I feel like I’m doing battle with my own biases all the time now, and the election season has made it particularly challenging.
“When we would like a certain idea or concept to be true, we end up believing it to be true. This error leads us to stop gathering information beyond what confirms the views we’d like to be true.”
– Psychology Today
Confirmation Bias is not a comfortable subject for any of us who have been on the planet for awhile. Largely because we’re all guilty of it to one degree or another. And I’m thinking that the Listening Modalities of Head, Hands and Heart might play a role in how we deal with confirmation bias.
I’ve always responded to the ideas behind “Renew, Re-cycle and Re-use”. I shop at thrift stores, I do my best to fix things – even though I have marginal skills, but recycling was something I’ve been committed to since my early teens. So the disturbing news that China was no longer taking the majority of our recyclables was a reality I didn’t know how to process. So I didn’t. I did what many of us continue to do – just sort the stuff the way we always have. A few nights ago, my now 20-something daughter put a plastic yogurt cup in the trash, and when I corrected her, she said “Mom! China isn’t taking our plastics anymore! Get over it! All we can recycle now is paper and cardboard!”.
So. I have a few choices here. I can continue to ignore the facts, remain firm in my confirmation bias, and do what I’ve always done. And our town is more than happy to continue this illusion, while quietly trucking our plastics off to the landfill. But my confirmation bias feeds my emotional need to feel like a good person helping to take care of our planet. My heart listening on this subject is tuned only to the reinforcement of this self-concept. If that need is strong enough, and I’m truly committed to recycling, I can put my head listening skills to use and look clearly and objectively at the cold hard facts of recycling in my state and my county. I can then, but really only then, put my problem solving hands to work in seeking out solutions built on the new reality.
“What the human being is best at doing is interpreting all new information so that his/her prior conclusions remain intact.”
– Warren Buffett