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Getting Past Your Biases

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posted on Nov, 5 2018 @ 12:04 AM
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I was reading this article from ABC Australia and thought, given the current state of the world that it was particularly poignant. It states that when we read a news article, we are reading it though the lens of our own personal biases. It seems for most of us, when we read a news article we are thinking more like lawyers, finding ways to make it fit our own agenda rather than reading with the mind of a scientist. If it doesn't fit with our agenda, many of us dismiss it rather than change our views based on the facts been presented. Here is the article, I would be interested to know what ATS thinks.



When it comes to navigating the news, can you beat your biases?

ABC Life / By Patrick Wright


Navigating the headlines is more difficult than ever.

Amid all the stories about "fake news" and political interference, it's hard to know what to trust — and our biases can cloud our judgement.

It turns out we are prone to accepting or rejecting evidence based on our pre-existing beliefs, rather than the strength of the facts.

We often believe things are worse than they really are, and we tend to engage only with the familiar sides of nuanced debates.

The good news is we're here to help.

If you want to focus more on the facts, and avoid some of the common mistakes we all make, here's some things you can do.

Be aware of your biases

We all have biases that inform how we react to the news. An important one to be aware of is "motivated reasoning".

We like to think that we make decisions by weighing up the evidence first, but that's simply not the case, according to Matthew Hornsey, a social psychologist at the University of Queensland.

Source Checker

Do you know what news sources are? Can you spot a reliable one in a news story? Test your skills in our source checker quiz.


It's the other way around: we often start with a belief and arrange the evidence to fit.

"Rather than behaving like scientists, we behave like lawyers. We have an outcome that we're trying to prosecute," Professor Hornsey says.

Often, these beliefs come from our gut rather than reason.

And, thanks to the internet, it's never difficult to find some evidence — however flimsy — to support these emotional and instinctual beliefs.

"Some conservatives hate climate change because they are fans of free enterprise, and they hate the thought of big government," Professor Hornsey says.

"We know that statistically. We've seen the data that shows that's a big predictor of people rejecting climate change."



We can be aware of our biases, but there's not much hope in curing them, says Professor Hornsey. They're simply part of our identity.

"It's hard to spot when you're doing this motivated reasoning. You feel like your worldview is the truth, and so you feel like you're getting closer to the truth," he says.

Expect to hear about lots of bad things — and not many good


Journalists focus on the extreme, the novel and the exciting. If a passenger plane crashes, you will hear about it, whether online, on TV, on the radio or in a newspaper.


Because we hear an awful lot of about plane crashes, it can seem like they must happen often.

What you probably didn't hear was that 2017 was the safest year on record. Not one person died in a commercial passenger jet incident.

According to Hans Rosling, author of the book Factfulness, journalists' preoccupation with negative news means we often think things in the world are worse than they are.

Here's a few tips to help control what he calls this "negativity instinct":

Expect bad news
Remember that good news is almost never reported
Remember that more news does not equal more suffering
Thing can be both better and bad (just because something appears bad, doesn't mean it's getting worse).
Be alert, but not afraid, of the algorithms

More than ever, we are being delivered news via algorithms.

Because search engines, social media platforms and news aggregators have a lot of data about our behaviours, it has led to anxiety that algorithms and personalised content feeds are creating "filter bubbles" and "echo chambers", sheltering us from information that contradicts our cultural and ideological views.

It's not that simple though, according to Axel Bruns, from the Digital Media Research Centre at QUT.

Facebook and targeted ads
A Facebook pop-up message.
A study suggests that Facebook's ad explanations are "often incomplete and sometimes misleading".


"There's been quite a few studies that have been done now on search results that show that, whether you're politically right and left, you end up seeing the same results, with very few variations," he says.

"With social media as well, there's not such a great deal of evidence to show that people are locking themselves into ideological or other filter bubbles or echo chambers."

Nevertheless, sometimes the content or ads we get served up are just plain creepy. Since starting to research this story, I've started getting ads for a search engine that doesn't track its users. (The irony hasn't been lost on me.)

If you want to try and avoid the algorithms, there are some things to do. If you're using a search engine, you can use incognito mode to de-personalise your results, Professor Bruns says.

On social media, you can try changing your settings, so your feeds are in chronological order rather than served by an algorithm, he adds.

Build a healthy information diet

We all design our information diets. If you're interested in the news, and want to be better informed, think about bulking up yours.

If you're particularly interested in a topic, try to track down a story from a news outlet you wouldn't typically hear from.

"There's an onus on all of us to follow broadly and to choose diversely whom we follow and what information we consume," Professor Bruns says.

"If you want to break out your immediate sphere of interest, and your immediate sphere of political allegiances, then find voices from the other side.

"That doesn't mean go to the extremes or follow particularly extremist nasty voices … in a more moderate sense, follow people who you perhaps do not agree with or expect not to agree with."

If you suspect a story is sensationalist, or too good to be true, check to see if — or how — it's being covered by reputable media organisations.

You might also like to read:

Spot fake news online with these free tools for fact-checking bogus stories
How hard is it to make a convincing deepfake video?
'Fake news' era of media disinformation will take 50 years to unravel, expert warns
Media Literacy Week (ABC Education)



www.abc.net.au...
edit on 5-11-2018 by harold223 because: (no reason given)




posted on Nov, 5 2018 @ 12:17 AM
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a reply to: harold223

Yes. Confirmation bias.

It raises its head frequently and not just in politics.

It's a bitch.


edit on 11/5/2018 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 5 2018 @ 12:17 AM
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a reply to: harold223

Reading with skeptical spectacles?



posted on Nov, 5 2018 @ 12:19 AM
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a reply to: Nothin

Skepticism is often frowned upon.

Close minded, it is.



posted on Nov, 5 2018 @ 12:28 AM
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Good thread topic but my biases are kickin in and sayin it will be largely ignored here....



posted on Nov, 5 2018 @ 12:39 AM
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originally posted by: Phage
a reply to: Nothin

Skepticism is often frowned upon.

Close minded, it is.



Perhaps skepticism is not a lens, nor a filter, in the same sense that bias is?

Reading without pre-judgement, but not believing neither?

Hope nobody wrecks their eyebrows, by excessive frowning...



posted on Nov, 5 2018 @ 12:40 AM
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a reply to: Nothin

Hope you don't think I'm John Lithgow.



posted on Nov, 5 2018 @ 12:48 AM
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originally posted by: muzzleflash
Good thread topic but my biases are kickin in and sayin it will be largely ignored here....


I felt that many on this site could do with reading this article, if even just a few pause and think, I have had some success



posted on Nov, 5 2018 @ 12:50 AM
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originally posted by: Nothin

originally posted by: Phage
a reply to: Nothin

Skepticism is often frowned upon.

Close minded, it is.



Perhaps skepticism is not a lens, nor a filter, in the same sense that bias is?

Reading without pre-judgement, but not believing neither?

Hope nobody wrecks their eyebrows, by excessive frowning...


I like you're thinking.

P.S Glad to see this thread got the attention of the mighty Phage



posted on Nov, 5 2018 @ 12:59 AM
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originally posted by: Phage
a reply to: Nothin

Hope you don't think I'm John Lithgow.


Every time 3rd Rock from the Sun comes on I ponder the many challenges there are for a Phage to adjust to Earth culture...



posted on Nov, 5 2018 @ 01:02 AM
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Decent article except it throws in its own bias about climate chamge



"Some conservatives hate climate change because they are fans of free enterprise, and they hate the thought of big government," Professor Hornsey says.


"Hate climate change" that infers there is no scientific debate about the subject and conservatives only reason to be against government policy on climate change is economic and dislike of big government.

Also a bit undercuts believing in your own gut instincts and I disagree with that. We humans are both thinkers and have animal instincts. Your instincts help determine friend/foe, they are part of an animalistic survival instinct.

If you feel someone is lying to you or means you harm, trust that instinct.



posted on Nov, 5 2018 @ 01:04 AM
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a reply to: Strate8

Instincts lie, as do our senses. They tell us the world is flat and doesn't move.


Be skeptical of what they tell you. They are easily fooled.

edit on 11/5/2018 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 5 2018 @ 01:07 AM
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originally posted by: Phage
a reply to: Nothin

Hope you don't think I'm John Lithgow.


Don't think so.

Mr. Lithgow is a talented, professional frowner.



posted on Nov, 5 2018 @ 01:07 AM
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a reply to: Nothin

He's also balding.



posted on Nov, 5 2018 @ 01:11 AM
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originally posted by: harold223

originally posted by: Nothin

originally posted by: Phage
a reply to: Nothin

Skepticism is often frowned upon.

Close minded, it is.



Perhaps skepticism is not a lens, nor a filter, in the same sense that bias is?

Reading without pre-judgement, but not believing neither?

Hope nobody wrecks their eyebrows, by excessive frowning...


I like you're thinking.

P.S Glad to see this thread got the attention of the mighty Phage


Thanks.
How many of us are aware of our own personal bias'? (sp?)



posted on Nov, 5 2018 @ 01:12 AM
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a reply to: harold223

Good article and touches on something that I’ve tried very hard to realize when I go about my daily life.

There is one thing that I know is bias AF but I avoid babies and children at all expenses! They harbor disease and say and do stupid things. I can’t stand them and I don’t even have a reason.



posted on Nov, 5 2018 @ 01:13 AM
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a reply to: Allaroundyou

Babies are awesome.

And where would be be without them?



posted on Nov, 5 2018 @ 01:17 AM
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originally posted by: Phage
a reply to: Nothin

He's also balding.

Is it possible that excessive frowning, may lead to balding?

Maybe yet another reason, to cultivate an open mind! (If mind is cultivatable).



posted on Nov, 5 2018 @ 01:17 AM
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a reply to: Nothin

Nah. Your brain'll fall out.
That's worse than going bald.



posted on Nov, 5 2018 @ 01:23 AM
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originally posted by: Phage
a reply to: Nothin

Nah. Your brain'll fall out.
That's worse than going bald.


Then neither shall we cultivate a furrowed brow, nor a furrowed mind!



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