Fighting Confirmation Bias in a Polarized Society

The political climate in the United States seems to be getting increasingly polarized. Group polarization seems to still be happening in the Democratic and Republican parties. Group polarization essentially means that inside of a group that shares the same ideas, members try to out-extreme each other in terms of their beliefs. In the Democratic party, it seems to be who can promise more free stuff and push equality of outcome, while the Republican party seems to be playing follow the leader with Trump. I know this somewhat of a moot point because he is the leader of the Republican party, but it seems like true conservatism is somewhat out of style in the Republican party.

So what is confirmation bias? It is a psychological phenomenon that essentially means that humans like to confirm their beliefs rather than challenge them. One example would be a conservative watching Fox News. This conservative would rather confirm his beliefs through Fox News than challenge them through a left-leaning network like CNN.

So why is fighting confirmation bias becoming more difficult? The polarization of American political parties makes the parties further apart. It becomes increasingly difficult to consume information from the other side of the aisle because it is more radical. Concretely, with the current trend of Democrats moving more towards socialism conservatives find it more difficult to consume information with a socialist bias. As the other views of the other parties become more extreme members of the opposite party have a harder time even entertaining their ideas because it goes so strongly against what they believe to be true.

So how do you fight confirmation bias today? You give it the good old college try. Try consuming information from a source that generally leans to the other party. See if their perspective really challenges what you believe. It might be difficult and even infuriating for some, but I challenge you to keep an open mind and explore different perspectives that could make you question your beliefs. You might come out with a new view on an issue, and if not you will still be a more informed person having tried this challenge.


This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Anthony Altobell

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