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Desert Highway
Thoughtful writing authored and shared by members of of the Thinking Collaborative community to support others on the journey.

Sustaining the Journey

Confirmation Bias

Authored By:

Thinking Collaborative


April 04, 2016

The brain receives so much data at any given moment that it has to filter out some data in order to be able to attend and making meaning of incoming sensory information. When that occurs, we delete, distort, and generalize reality. Authors Samantha Le and Shana Lebowitz offer a useful categorization of cognitive biases that negatively impact accurate and effective decision making. This month we will explore four and offer ways to use States of Mind/Energy Sources to correct the inaccuracies in thinking.

Confirmation bias is our tendency to only listen to information that supports our own preconceived ideas. When we hear about a new program, we first judge it by our own beliefs about what is effective and ineffective in achieving the goals of the program. We filter out things that do not confirm our own ways of thinking.

As coaches and collaborators, we support accuracy in thinking by asking questions that invite flexibility and craftsmanship. Examples might include:

What other data might be helpful in understanding this issue?

What might be some perceptions we haven’t considered in examining this issue?

Taking the perspective of x, how might this look different to us?

What might be some things that are not being considered in our dialogue about this issue?

What are some examples of confirmation bias you have recently experienced? How have you seen groups and individuals work through these biases?

Lee, S.& Lebowitz, S. “20 cognitive biases that screw up your decisions,” Business Insider. August 26, 2015.

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