Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Valerie Parkhurst admits to Confirmation Bias

What is Confirmation Bias? 

Confirmation bias, also called myside bias, is the tendency to search for, remember, or interpret information in a way that confirms one's beliefs or hypotheses. It is a type of cognitive bias and a systematic error of inductive reasoning. People display this bias when they gather or recall information selectively, or when they interpret it in a biased way. The effect is stronger for emotionally charged issues and for deeply entrenched beliefs. People also tend to interpret ambiguous evidence as supporting their existing position. Biased search, interpretation and memory have been invoked to explain attitude polarization (when a disagreement becomes more extreme even though the different parties are exposed to the same evidence), belief perseverance (when beliefs persist after the evidence for them is shown to be false), the irrational primacy effect (a greater reliance on information encountered early in a series) and illusory correlation (when people falsely perceive an association between two events or situations).

Admittedly, many people and organizations (especially victim's rights groups) engage in Confirmation Bias, though most are not aware of it. Valerie Parkhurst, on the other hand, is willing to admit her own confirmation bias:

Consider this-- if a person freely admits to Confirmation Bias in her "research," is her research fatally flawed? In a word, yes. 

Can you trust someone like Valerie Parkhurst? In a word, no. 

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