We all hold bias that comes as a results of years upon years of seeking detailed information which validates what we chose to believe, while at the same time ignoring things that might challenge our preconceived views and ideas.
Or in short, we all look for information to support ourselves being right. Notice how you feel next time a friend starts to speak to you about an important face being highlighted in the media. If this person’s world filters(beliefs) are similar to your own you’ll love them, and if they aren’t, you’ll loathe them. This applies to all aspects of life, whether you are seeking the existence of God in your life or whether that next Mercedes SUV is the best choice for your family. If you are looking for proof, even to any extreme, you will find it!
P.C. Wason in 1960, came up with a method to teach confirmation bias to young students, outlining it’s influence in our lives from an early age.
The Selection Task
A teacher would ask their students why the group of numbers presented to them were in a particular sequence ( 2, 4, 6 ), asking the students to figure out what special rule the teacher used in selecting these numbers. The students would then pick three of their own different numbers using the same assumed special rule they thought the teacher used. The teacher would then acknowledge their guesses with “yes” or “no” outlining whether or not were using the rule, not disclosing the exact rule though. Once the students had narrowed down their selection through the teachers responses they would turn in their final guesses. Most students had guessed numbers ordering like 10, 12, 14 or 22, 24, 26. It could be inferred by the students that the teacher offering validation to their guesses with “yes” that they had uncovered the special rule, but in reality they hadn’t. Because for students to really uncover the hidden rule they would have had to offer up guesses like 4,4,4 or 5,4,3 and they teacher would say “no”, these number sequences were not using the special rule. Eventually through enough trial and error the students would uncover that the special rule was in fact: any three numbers in ascending order.
You see we apply this same type of ignorance in our own lives to validate our beliefs daily. Look at the shows you watch, the music you download, the political views you hold, the spots you hang at, and the company you keep. They all are working in succession to support the visions and filters you hold on the world. These beliefs have completely shaped your reality and anything that is held in opposition to these deeply wired ‘truths’ you grow intolerable towards. Change your lens my friend, change your lens!
To explore more on this topic you might consider researching frequency illusion (Baader-Meinhof phenomenon).