Confirmation Bias Thinking Errors
Manage Your Confirmation Bias Issues in Wolverhampton
Confirmation Bias is the name given to the ‘process’ of selecting or distorting information in a way that is consistent with our own internal belief systems or value system and in some respects could also be called ‘wishful thinking’.
Because we tend to seek out information that fits with our beliefs, we will often ignore any information that contradicts what we believe.
For example, if a person with low self esteem believes that they ‘worthless’ or ‘incompetent’ for example, then having somebody tell them that ‘they are a really lovely person’ does not ‘fit’ with their self-perception.
When this happens confirmation bias kicks-in to help interpret this information in a way that fits with the ‘truth’ about themselves which is that that are not really lovely at all.
In circumstances like this, a ‘logical’ set of steps are followed that help make sense of this apparent disparity:
- Firstly, if I know that I am NOT a lovely person then this person does not really mean what they say
- If they don’t mean what they say then they are just saying it to make me ‘feel better’ and therefore don’t care about me
- The reason they don’t care about me is that I am a worthless person
- Now what they’re saying makes more sense because they think I’m worthless which is what I also believe
As you can see, confirmation bias has actually taken what appears to be a positive statement “you are a really lovely person”, and found a way to distort it to such an extent that it now ‘fits’ in with this model of low self worth.
If you are ever been on the receiving end of this type of interaction, then you’ll know only too well that this person has got hold of the wrong end of the stick completely and has simply not heard what has been said!
Other Forms of Confirmation Bias
In fact, confirmation bias can occur ANY time that situations, information or experiences contradict or indeed fit with what we believe.
Consider a person who believes in Extra Sensory Perception (ESP) for example:
This person is sitting at home thinking about their mother when the phone rings and low and behold, it’s their mother calling!
Form this event they will start to keep track of times when they are thinking about mum and when mum calls – evidence gathering to support the idea of ESP.
They will, however, tend to ignore the following events:
- Times they were thinking about mum and she didn’t call
- Times they weren’t thinking mum and she did call
On top of this they are also likely to pay little attention to the fact that they generally speak to their mum about every two weeks and therefore have a regular pattern of ‘thinking about mum’ bi-weekly and so if mum hasn’t called for about two weeks it’s likely to be more in the forefront of their minds in the first place!
Facts Don’t Come Into It!
Confirmation Bias tends to dispense with the facts or with mathematical probability and lends itself much more to ‘magical’ or inexplicable phenomenon that demands some ‘other-worldly’ explanation, all of which results is a distortion of ‘reality’ which is rarely a helpful trait to have.
Because confirmation bias is intimately tied with belief systems, it can be very difficult to objectively identify them when they occur which is why they can become so deeply embedded into a person psyche.
However, processes such as the Thrive Programme, which are conducted with a trained practitioner, can help you to become aware, and then modify these issues helping you to improve your perspective.
Transform Your Thinking & Reduce Confirmation Bias
If you would like to reduce your confirmation bias then we highly recommend following either our Advanced Cognitive Behavioural Therapy course with Paul, or the Changing Limiting Beliefs (CLB) Programme with Joan.
Both the CBT course and Changing Limiting Beliefs approach are highly successful & pragmatic psychological training programmes, run over 10 sessions, that will teach you everything you need to know to understand your problem, identify how unhelpful thinking and limiting beliefs might be reinforcing the issue, and then show you how to make any changes to your unhelpful thinking styles or maladaptive safety behaviours that you may have developed as part of your coping strategies.
Our CBT programme is an evidence-based, research supported approach used by mental health practitioners around the World.
FREE Initial Consultations for Confirmation Bias Problems
We offer all prospective clients a FREE initial assessment to chat about your confirmation bias issues. During this 50 minute consultation we will discuss the various options that are available to you and make a considered recommendation based on your individual personal circumstances.
At TranceForm we believe that therapy & coaching should be a collaboration between therapist and client so it’s very important to be able to meet PRIOR to agreeing any kind of help. Our policy is to help people make a fully balanced & considered decision about undertaking therapy with us, including both the financial and personal implications.
For most mental health issues we recommend following our 10 session Tranceformental CBT Programme (an advanced version of empirically established Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) to overcome a wide range of mental health and behavioural problems.
CBT is a proven, evidence-based form of therapy for developing a fundamental level of understanding into the dynamics of your problem, but also for learning new coping skills and strategies for sustainable change over your life.
Tranceformental CBT is available On-line as well as a one-to-one format in the clinic.
Visit Online Counselling for more details.