Or suppose that you happen to be thinking about a

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Exploring Microeconomics
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Chapter 14 / Exercise 2
Exploring Microeconomics
Sexton
Expert Verified
Or suppose that you happen to be thinking about a friend and feel a sudden concern for her welfare. Later you learn that just as you were worrying about your friend, she was going through a terrible time. Does this demonstrate a psychic connection between you and your friend? What are the chances that your worry was not connected to your friend’s distress? If we consider how many times people worry about friends and how many times people go through difficulties, then we can more easily see that the chances are high that we will think about friends while they are having difficulties. In other words, we overlook the high proba- bility that our thinking about our loved ones will coincide with their experiencing problems. It would actually be more surprising if it never happened. No psychic connection is needed to explain this. Confirmation Bias People tend to look for information that confirms what they already believe—or alternatively, dismiss or discount information that conflicts with what they already believe. As noted in Chapter 5, this is called confirmation bias . For example, consider the case of a journalist who personally opposes the death penalty and, in writing an article about the effectiveness of the death penalty, interviews more people who oppose it than who favor it. Another example, which is also discussed in Chapter 5, is our own tendency to turn to friends—people likely to share our worldview—to validate our values and opinions. The easy access to information on the Internet has made confirmation bias both worse and yet easier to overcome. On the downside, it has become increasingly easy to find news sources with which we agree. No matter where you stand on an issue, it is easy to find a news outlet that agrees with you or a forum of like-minded people. Since we all tend to feel more comfort- able around like-minded people, we tend to overemphasize the importance and quality of information we get from such places. Moral of the Story : Gambler’s Fallacy and Probability Neglect When your reasoning depends on how likely something is, be extra careful. It is very easy to hugely overestimate or underestimate how likely something is. © 2015 Bridgepoint Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Not for resale or redistribution.
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Exploring Microeconomics
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Chapter 14 / Exercise 2
Exploring Microeconomics
Sexton
Expert Verified
Section 8.1 Obstacles to Critical Thinking: The Self On the upside, it has also become easier to find information sources that disagree with our views. Overcoming confirmation bias requires looking at both sides of an issue fairly and equally. That does not mean looking at the different sides as having equal justification. Rather, it means making sure that you know the arguments on both sides of an issue and that you apply the same level of logical analysis to each. If we take the time and energy to explore sources that disagree with our position, we will better understand what issues are at stake and what the limitations of our own position may be. Even if we do not change our mind, we will at least know where to strengthen our argument and be equipped to anticipate contrary

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