Definition 

Confirmation bias describes the tendency to look for, or interpret information in a way that is consistent with one’s existing beliefs.

Explanation

Confirmation bias is where people seek, interpret and remember information in a way that confirms their existing ideas. It is often unintentional and results in ignoring information that goes counter to one’s convictions. Existing beliefs can include one’s expectations in a given situation and predictions about a particular outcome. Confirmation bias is especially pronounced where information supports when an issue is perceived as relevant or important for an individual.

What to watch out for 

Challenge your own convictions:

When developing hypotheses for important questions make sure to avoid confirmation bias. One popular way to do this is to … In a team you can use methods like “red-team-blue-team” or “pre-mortems”. In the former you assign random people to argue for a certain decision and others to argue against it. In a pre-mortem you collectively outline a hypothetical in which the conviction you hold was false and led to a bad decision. Both methods force you to take the other side of the argument and thus challenge your convictions.

Hold yourself accountable:

Use quantifiable KPIs to determine whether you made a good or bad decision. This way you can hold yourself accountable for adverse outcomes. But watch out: Your confirmation bias might lead you to measure only KPIs that paint a positive picture of the situation. Be honest with yourself and select only KPIs that truly matter to the issue at hand.

Sources & further reading

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