Thursday, 28 June 2012

Confirmation Bias and Politicos

After reading this article about how to think critically  I have been thinking about how we, as politicos are affected by confirmation bias and also about how we make up our minds about news stories and happenings around us, both locally and nationally.

I've been quite frustrated in the past by those who would react according to their principles "capitialism is bad" or "everything the LDs do is good", but I've also thought we need to think more independently and critically about both our reactions, and in general, party policy that we seek to influence. 

I think this might end up as a series of posts, but firstly I'd like to look at confirmation bias - from the article referenced above : 

"The biggest problem is one of confirmation bias: finding an answer you already believe. If someone has a question about a belief or opinion—say, that vaccines are dangerous—then when they look it up online they'll tend to be biased toward sites that have information they already agree with! "

I've seen this in many an argument - those seeking to back up their argument with "evidence" - only for both parties to do this and not end up with any adequate conclusion. You can also see it in evidence in the Houses of Parliament, were Ed Balls and George Osborne find evidence for both sides of the argument for deficit reduction, but for people like me sometimes it's a "well they're both right, in a way" - does anyone out there spend time researching the OTHER side of the argument? I follow all sorts of parties on twitter, in part because I like hearing different views  but also to look at their sources and reason out whether they are right or not. 

We can look at the different parties blog sites - for the Liberal Democrats try or for Tories or for Labour

This we should look at critically as they are definitely aligned to particular parties. But I like to look at these and also bloggers at the New Statesmans, The Guardian, Independent and the Telegraph to try to get a wide range of views, so I can see a 360 degree view of the problem.

Does anyone else do this? If not, what do you do?

1 comment:

  1. It was something they drummed into us on my degree - read at least two newspapers, one you agree with and one you don't. I used to get the Graun, the Times and the Indy. I found a lot to agree with in the Times, but a lot that made me cross too; the thing that amazed me was the number of times all three used the same pictures, but cropped differently to give an editorial spin. Similarly, the Graun made me headdesk A LOT. I still read the Indy.