The mind – both conscious and unconscious is a powerful force. Past experiences, upbringing and even current habits shape how people react to situations and stimuli. Confirmation bias is a form of cognitive bias. Cognitive bias is defined as
…systematic pattern of deviation from norm or rationality in judgment, whereby inferences about other people and situations may be drawn in an illogical fashion.
meaning that individuals create their own “reality” from their perception receive around them. Confirmation bias is the filtering out of information that doesn’t fit the perception or attitude of the person. If an individual is very pro-vegetarian, they will filter out any information that shows the benefits of a carnivorous diet- thereby strengthening their own bias.
This bias is especially prevalent in how individuals are using social media. With the ability to like or block content, the user’s cognitive bias is amplified, giving that person only information that fits their pattern of rationality.
This same bias can be applied to patterns of health. Smokers for example – who most likely understand the fundamental risks, will filter out messages that vilify the activity of smoking. People change, only when their bias shifts
Why It’s Hot
Confirmation bias is a powerful driver of human behavior, but what if it could be used to alter that same behavior? For smokers, they understand the strength of addiction and the “pain” of quitting. When they see ads showing black lungs their bias filters out that message. Their reality says “its ok, I’m already smoking”
But what if the message hit the bias head on? What if the campaign acknowledged the “suck”? That message would align with the smokers bias and perhaps not be filtered out. Capturing mindshare is becoming more and more difficult, perhaps understanding and confronting bias is a way to breakthrough.