What's a bias anyway?
Bain's fabulous,... But lazy.
A biais is a mental-filter aiming to simplify reality. A shortcut.
A mechanism that allows us to make sense of the world faster,
without having to pay great attention to every details.
More on why our mind shortcuts everything away here.
What's the point?
The goal of the confirmation bias is to spot and bring up to attention familiar or endorsed knowledge. Its our built-in ‘wanting to be right’ mechanism.
Have you noticed...We often selectively hear what people say?
It can be quite easy to ignore the information we are unfamiliar with, while paying greater attention to the evidence we are interested in. In short, we often seek to see only the evidence that confirms our belief about the world.
The backdrop of simplifying the environment, is often dramatic oversimplification, distortion or even selective blindness. Overvaluing the overlap between the facts and our belief is a well-known bias that alters the way we capture reality and it is called the confirmation bias. It is a form of inatentional blindness.
If it is not that great, why is it there?
This bias does have a function: it makes sure you don’t have to come up with a whole new vision of reality whenever new evidence presents itself. In order to avoid constant overload our brain uses many shortcuts and biases… But it can also turn them off.