The election and confirmation bias

People, individuals, who routinely think independently for themselves will hang on and vote for Trump, despite the massive efforts to marginalize and discredit him.

In more recent research, confirmation bias has been found to depend on (1) the values of the observer and (2) the extent of their formal education. The more formal education you have on a particular subject, the stronger your confirmation bias. With regard to (2), which side of a particular issue you are turns out to be statistically insignificant. With regard to the strength of your bias, you move from the statistical norm to the second and then the third standard deviation depending on your level of education in the subject, that is, your confirmation bias increases significantly.

However, significantly, the difference in fundamental values, for example individualism versus collectivism, ultimately determines your success and whether or how often you are right or wrong in the sense of natural and moral laws as described by John Locke et al. Those who followed the collective bias tended to ignore or miss important facts more often and so ultimately they failed more often; they became victims for the collective.

Your opinions are the result of years of paying attention to information which confirmed what you believed while ignoring information which challenged your preconceived notions. If you followed the crowd, your opinions were challenged less often. If you became an expert, a leader, your opinions were challenged even less often and more often than not your confirmation bias increased.

The Wason Rule: people behave so as to make their expectations come true. People tend to favor information that confirms their preconceptions or hypotheses, independently of the information’s truthfulness, falsity, or the facts. However, if people consistently test their assumptions against empirical reality then their bias or hypotheses are more frequently confirmed/successful/right, i.e. more successful people run an experiment in nature – instead of arguing an ideology, or instead of following the politically correct response.

Professor Ted Nordenhaug, back at Mercer U. in the 1960’s was on to this way back then, “Our society gets massive conformity simply by getting the majority of people to accept roughly the same parameters on most questions.” Imagine alternatives even to your own alternatives, he would advise his students. Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If” understood the fallacy of political correctness and confirmation bias, but doubtless more than half of the people on the planet have never read it.

People will hold on and vote for Trump because they are individuals who think for themselves and they can see the wide difference between Trump and Clinton, in spite of the mass media efforts to marginalize and proselytize for the Clinton collective.

About budbromley

Bud is a retired life sciences executive. Bud's entrepreneurial leadership exceeded three decades. He was the senior business development, marketing and sales executive at four public corporations, each company a supplier of analytical and life sciences instrumentation, software, consumables and service. Prior to those positions, his 19 year career in Hewlett-Packard Company's Analytical Products Group included worldwide sales and marketing responsibility for Bioscience Products, Global Accounts and the International Olympic Committee, as well as international management assignments based in Japan and Latin America. Bud has visited and worked in more than 65 countries and lived and worked in 3 countries.
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3 Responses to The election and confirmation bias

  1. John Maney says:


    Your post is better than well said.

    Due to my predilection for confirmational bias – I assume I’m always wrong and therefore should be right half the time.



    • budbromley says:

      Thanks John. You post the words of a true skeptic, a scientist. Feynman said it more simply than I, of course. He said something like, “If it does not agree with experiment, it’s wrong.”


  2. John Maney says:

    Better than well said.


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