Confirmation Bias

Our brains are naturally drawn to information that agrees with our world view. We end up surrounded by people that think like us and consume information mostly from sources that support our beliefs.

In writing, students often start with a hypothesis and find themselves drawn to material that supports it.

Sönke says that even the best thinkers are equally prone to this, though they actively seek to counter it. For example, Charles Darwin's "golden rule" was to take note of anything that "opposed" his theories (as in, provided counter evidence). By doing this, he eventually found that many he developed at least a response to the majority of arguments that ran counter to his. Ahrens (2017) (pg. 86)

In this sense, seeking to conquer confirmation bias is part of a Growth Mindset.

Also related to Loss Adversion, insofar as we seek to avoid situations which could result in loss, even at the expense of situations where we would more likely would win (learn).


Sönke Ahrens. How to Take Smart Notes: One Simple Technique to Boost Writing, Learning and Thinking: For Students, Academics and Nonfiction Book Writers. CreateSpace, North Charleston, SC, 2017. ISBN 978-1-5428-6650-7.