21 ianuarie 2011


As any cognitive scientist will tell you, if you really go looking, you can build a case for almost anything you want to believe.  It's called confirmation bias: you start with a hypothesis, and then you look to see whether there are facts out there that confirm your hypothesis.  Since you aren't looking so aggressively for disconfirming evidence, it quickly comes to seem as if you have a pretty good case.  If you hadn't started with the hypothesis, however, you probably wouldn't have reached the same conclusion.  These are the cases that tend to fall apart dramatically in a courtroom, where the jury doesn't necessarily share your priors, and the other side gets to talk, too.

I'm sure I don't have to tell you that this effect is particularly pronounced in politics.

MeganMcArdle - My Last Word on Loughner (The Atlantic)

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