Sociology Term Paper on Present-day Implications of Confirmation Bias

Confirmation Bias is a tendency of an individual to conduct a search that seeks to justify previous knowledge or hypotheses on the subject. In most cases, people are prone to seek information that tends to prove their beliefs. In a political environment, different supporters approach political news with a bias. For instance, one would analyze news with respect to the supporting side. Confirmation bias has implications in the everyday life operations. Professionals can make choices under the influence of the confirmation bias. This study explores present-day implications of confirmation bias. Confirmation bias has positive or negative implications on everyday personal and professional choices.

Confirmation bias has implications of psychiatric diagnosis. According to Carleton (2015), confirmation bias affects the process of decision-making by the medical practitioners. In most cases, he notes that diagnosis represents an error on the inductive process on the part of the psychiatrist. In his research, he finds out that gender does not influence the manner in which medical doctors come up with diagnosis. Researchers also believe that experience of a medical practitioner can influence the results of a diagnosis. However, Carleton (2015) disapproves this assumption through his experiment. Confirmation bias proves to play a major role into influencing the psychiatric diagnosis. Medical practitioners handle human life; therefore, a misdiagnosis can lead to a fatal error. Most times, a doctor may develop a hypothesis of the medical condition at hand. The doctor then asks questions to justify the hypothesis while disregarding of the evidence that tend to disconfirm it. There are instances where doctors misdiagnosed patients, leading to the prescription of wrong medications. People have lost their lives while others have been permanently disabled out of such actions. The continued influence by the confirmation bias is a threat to the professionalism of the medical practitioners. Carleton (2015) suggests changes in the diagnosis process that includes coming up with structured interviews, decreased overconfidence, delaying decision-making, considering alternatives and trainings. Therefore, doctors should undergo training that helps them identify their own biases. Before making a decision, the doctor should search for the information that disapproves the hypothesis.

Business decisions require an in depth analysis of the data by the managers and investors. An interested party will likely search for information that satisfies the prior knowledge about a company or business. In “Confirmation Bias, Overconfidence, and Investment Performance”, Park, Konana, Kumar & Raghunathan (2010) investigates relationship between business performance and the virtual community. Investors are likely to search for information that confirms their prior understanding of the company in question. Therefore, confirmation bias also influences business decisions. An implication of such a bias may lead to the wrong decision it discourages a holistic view of all the factors in place. If an investor had a prior negative attitude towards a business, the person will major on the negative reports on the business in order to confirm the fears. On the other hand, an investor with a prior positive attitude on a business concept will select reports that affirm the beliefs. In the research, Park, Konana, Kumar & Raghunathan (2010) find out that investors only select those messages that confirm their prior knowledge of a company. Investors lose their money because of overconfidence from the confirmation bias. Research indicates that investors who approach an investment presentation from the neutral viewpoint are likely to gain profit. Therefore, investors should avoid confirmation bias by coming up with contrary viewpoint of failure and loss of investments.

In social psychology, confirmation bias lays a role in affirming the stereotype about other people. People look for information that seeks to re-confirm the prior information. On the process, people ignore information that may dispute the prior knowledge (Nelson, & McKenzie, 2018). For instance, meeting a person for the first time after developing a stereotype leads to only looking for information consistent with the stereotype. Confirmation bias makes people to look for repeating messages while ignoring inconsistent information. This explains the reason why people defend certain social aspects irrespective of the glaring inconsistencies. Self-image is another concept that uses conformational bias. People tend to interpret information about them with a confirmation bias. Individuals who seek self-verification will approve information that reinforces their self-image. In addition, individuals who are pro image-enhancement will seek for positive feedback about their image (Nelson, & McKenzie, 2018). People are likely to attend meetings that approve their self-image. Others may also term people who fail to approve of their images and beliefs as false or untrustworthy.

Confirmation bias affects both personal beliefs and the professional practice. It seems that all people have this tendency and it affects the daily operations. People may argue of their ability to approach issues with open-mindedness before making a conclusion; however, certain confirmation biases do influence the final choice. The effects are real, some maybe positive or negative. The negative effects are profound and devastating, especially for the professionals. Individuals and groups should learn how to approach issues with open mind to allow for the gathering of the contrary opinion before making the decision. The existing hypothesis shapes people’s opinion and the assimilation of information. This research shows that a research on the opposing hypothesis stands to help in making an informed decision for both personal and professional areas.

 

References

Carleton, M. (2015). The effects of the confirmation bias on diagnostic decision making /,                         (May).

Park, J., Konana Prabhudev, B. G., Kumar, A., & Raghunathan, R. (2010). Confirmation Bias,     Overconfidence, and Investment Performance. The Social Science Research Network                         Electronic Paper Collection, (October), 59. https://doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.                 1639470

Nelson, J., & McKenzie, C. (2018). Confirmation Bias. Sagepub.