'Women Can't Park'
Tackling Confirmation Bias

Project Overview

Cognitive bias, confirmation bias, confirmation bias in the media, evidence v's emptiness, the 4-way approach

Confirmation Bias

Confirmation bias is the tendency to search, interpret, favor and recall information in a way that affirms one’s prior beliefs or hypotheses. It is a type of cognitive bias and a systematic error in inductive reasoning. 

It affects the selection process of materials, but also their importance. Confirmation bias is prevalent throughout the media; seen commonly in the form of political campaigns, shock-tactic newspaper articles and most survey-assured advertisements. 

Biased Source Pools

Confirmation bias causes over-valuation of sources which agree with prior beliefs. Contradicting sources are often over-looked and disregarded. By only considering evidence from a singular viewpoint, you are comparing your evidence against emptiness. This mono-tonic style of information collation is not a very good grasp on the whole picture. Therefore confirmation bias encourages non-comprehensive searches – something every efficient researcher wants to avoid.

Combating Confirmation Bias - The 4-way Method

Suppose we wanted to research the claim ‘Women Can’t Park,’ and found lots of newspaper reports, images, videos and scholary articles which support the controversal statement. Despite collating a wide variety of supporting evidence, we cannot deem the statement true. So far we have only considered evidence of women parking badly. These should be compared against examples of women parking well. Then both should be compared against the background population. In this case, with very small inorities aside, men. 

Only once we collate evidence from all four quartiles can we conclude that women are worse than parking than men or not. Of course, this doesnt mean that all women are worse than all men (or visa versa), it just indicates the existence of a trend (more on that in a future video!) Although simple, this 4-way approach is a fantastic tool for both observing and combating your own personal, confirmation bias. 

Further Reading

Category Differences and Ambiguity

Discussing the confusion around trends and categories.

Representative Evidence

How to rank and take external factors into consideration when systematically collating evidence

Identity bias and initial rejection

Our own reaction to initial claim, a further look into confirmation bias as a reaction from our own identity crisis