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Guest Post on Scientific American

For those who have not seen, I had an article featured on Scientific American’s guest blog today. Here is the gist of it.

If we are defining confirmation bias as a tendency to favor information that confirms our previously held beliefs, it strikes me as ironic to think that it is almost exclusively discussed as a hindrance to knowledge and better decision-making, or as an aid to argumentation and persuasion as reinforced by Mercier and Sperber. With such a broad definition, I think it also explains our aesthetic judgments. That is, just as we only look for what confirms our scientific hypotheses and personal decisions, we likewise only listen to music and observe art that confirms our preconceived notions of good and bad aesthetics. Put differently, confirmation bias influences our aesthetic judgments just as it does any other judgment.

Really great piece! At least that’s what my confirmation bias tells me….

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. My brother who is doing research in Bergen and a doctor at that… sent me the link to read your Scientific American post and I enjoyed it thoroughly… Hence I had to search you on the Twitter and find your blog and comment.
    Its a great article… thanks for sharing…
    I usually write on interesting stuff at my blog “Shadow Dancing With Mind”, focused on Spirituality, thoughts and Mind as well as poetry… and your article is very interesting. If you permit, I would like to post the same on my blog…
    Let me know if its ok with you…

    ॐ नमः शिवाय
    Om Namah Shivaya

    July 17, 2011
    • sammcnerney #

      Of course, go for it. It is perfectly ok with me, sharing information is a great great thing. I am glad that you liked the article as well. I checked out your website, I particularly liked the article on Gandhi, his quote “I confess that I have no argument to convince through reason. Faith transcends reason,” goes well with the confirmation bias stuff.

      July 17, 2011
  2. Bro, great work. I like that in the first paragraph you show that we all use conformation bias. I think when it comes to the theist/nontheist debate thingies…we all accuse the other of doing ‘that’-when we all do ‘that.’ Awesome buddy.


    July 18, 2011

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