Do we only believe what we want to believe? | EUROtoday

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Yes, and that is dishonest. Confirmation bias tends to trigger us to reject any data that goes towards our biases.

By Sophie Hienard

Our way of reasoning is altered by our cognitive biases.
Our manner of reasoning is altered by our cognitive biases.
© TimeImage Production / Shutterstock / Shutterstock / TimeImage Production

QWhen you’re advised you’re unsuitable, you discover it exhausting to hear. And you frantically search the Internet for all the data that proves that you’re proper, and that your buddy is unsuitable. However, factually, it appears moderately that you’re not within the fact (and no, 2 and a couple of doesn’t make 7). Are you cussed? Yes like everyone.

Our manner of reasoning is altered by our cognitive biases, specifically by affirmation bias. It is a bent to choose completely data that might verify our prejudices. This thought sample manifests itself notably when conditions contain private opinions, or are hooked up to feelings, emotions.

A reality can thus be interpreted in a partial manner, as a result of an individual will only have taken under consideration data that didn’t jostle him in his reasoning. It’s a logical mechanism: confronted with a surplus of knowledge, the mind goes straight to the purpose, even when it means making shortcuts in reasoning, even once they do not stick. A little bit lazy, the cerebellum.

Intellectual avarice

And it’s exactly mental laziness, inherent in affirmation bias, which is identified by Gérald Bronner. In The Democracy of the Gullible, printed in 2013, the sociologist is keen on individuals who observe sects and tries to perceive adherence to conspiracy theories. With the Internet and social networks, the media are challenged by irrational opinions which might be rising on the cognitive market, that’s to say on “the fictitious space in which the products that inform our vision of the world are distributed: hypotheses, beliefs, information, etc. “.

READ ALSOBronner: “In information, there is nothing more liberticidal than laissez-faire”

Conspiracy theories, beliefs and superstitions subsequently profit from an “amplification of confirmation bias”. By “intellectual avarice”, monocausal explanations, less complicated, are privileged since they require much less effort. Conversely, scientific theories require a higher cognitive value, which makes them harder to assimilate. For instance, it’s simpler to suppose that the Earth is flat, than to display that it’s spherical with Isaac Newton’s common legislation of gravitation (and fake to perceive if physics is just not your factor).

The particular person can simply be tempted to compose a illustration of the world that’s mentally handy moderately than true. In different phrases, the plurality of proposals made to him allows him to keep away from, at a decrease value, the psychological discomfort typically attributable to the merchandise of data.Gérald Bronner, The Democracy of the Gullible (2013)

How to strive to battle towards the propagation of beliefs? For Bronner, it is a matter of media literacy and the way newspapers work. It is a query of strengthening the verification of the info within the face of false information and of rethinking the place allotted to irrational theses and beliefs. And then, maybe it’s a query of adopting a scientific reasoning. What issues is just not to discover info that verify our opinion, however moderately the alternative, arguments that may refute them. It is falsifiability, theorized by the thinker Karl Popper, which makes it potential to delimit our discipline of beliefs. And above all, to battle towards your personal biases, you could already cease being in unhealthy religion.