Confirmation Bias as a Negative Strategy to Resolve Contradictions Through Pressuring Conformity

I recently had a run in with a person who was very argumentative with my partner, but it turned out it was due to the contradictions and contrast my partner was providing to him about his own limited worldview, and in an attempt to restore the status quo, he looked up everything he could find that contradicted my partner’s viewpoint and confirmed his own. When one seeks only viewpoints that confirm their beliefs, this is called “confirmation bias” and “myopic thinking”. This person was attempting to guilt, shame, and fear monger my partner into conforming to an “orthodox” perspective, likely due to their own discomfort with the cognitive dissonance they were feeling within themselves. I will list the key concepts that I will define and explain via my self-hosted AI Llama3:7B chatbot, Brave AI, and Gab AI (yes, I’m getting lazy here, but it gives great answers in this limited use case), such as confirmation bias, the non-contradiction principle (NCP), cognitive dissonance, psychological compartmentalization, the Dunning-Kruger Effect, and Jung’s “holding the tension of opposites“.

Q: What is confirmation bias?

A great question!

The bias you’re referring to is called Confirmation Bias or Myopic Thinking. It’s a cognitive bias that occurs when we tend to search for, interpret, and remember information in a way that confirms our existing beliefs, attitudes, and opinions.

In other words, when we only look up at our viewpoint, we’re more likely to:

1. Seek out confirming evidence: We focus on finding information that supports our own perspective, rather than considering alternative views.
2. Discount contradictory information: We tend to dismiss or downplay information that contradicts our existing beliefs, often without fully evaluating the opposing view.
3. Overemphasize minor differences: We might exaggerate small differences between our viewpoint and others’, making it seem like there’s a bigger gap than there actually is.

Confirmation bias can lead to:

* Narrow-mindedness: We become less open to new ideas and perspectives, which can stifle personal growth and learning.
* Inflexibility: We’re more likely to resist changing our minds, even when presented with compelling evidence.
* Poor decision-making: By only considering one side of the story, we may make suboptimal choices.

To combat confirmation bias:

1. Seek diverse perspectives: Expose yourself to different viewpoints and opinions to broaden your understanding.
2. Practice active listening: Engage with opposing views by actively listening to and considering alternative arguments.
3. Be open-minded: Recognize that your initial viewpoint might be incomplete or incorrect, and be willing to adjust your thinking as new information emerges.

Remember, seeking out diverse perspectives and being open to changing your mind are crucial for personal growth, effective decision-making, and fostering meaningful relationships!

Q: In philosophy, what is the “non-contradiction principle”?

In philosophy, particularly in logic and epistemology, the “non-contradiction principle” (also known as the “law of non-contradiction”) is a fundamental principle that states:

Nothing can both be and not be at the same time.

This principle, attributed to Aristotle (384-322 BCE), asserts that it is impossible for a statement or proposition to be true while simultaneously being false. In other words, two contradictory statements cannot both be true in the same context.

Formally, this principle can be expressed as:

~(P ∧ ¬P)

Where ~ denotes negation, P represents some proposition, and ∧ indicates conjunction (logical “and”).

This principle has far-reaching implications across various areas of philosophy, including:

1. Logic: The non-contradiction principle is a foundation for classical logic, ensuring that statements can be consistently evaluated as either true or false.
2. Epistemology: It underlies our understanding of knowledge and truth, as it provides a framework for evaluating the consistency of our beliefs and theories.
3. Metaphysics: The non-contradiction principle has implications for our understanding of reality, time, and space, ensuring that these fundamental concepts are consistent and coherent.

The importance of this principle lies in its ability to:

1. Prevent contradictions: By ruling out the possibility of simultaneous truth and falsehood, the non-contradiction principle helps avoid logical inconsistencies.
2. Guarantee consistency: It ensures that our beliefs, theories, and statements are internally consistent and coherent.

While some philosophers have questioned or modified this principle (e.g., dialectical logic, intuitionistic logic), the non-contradiction principle remains a cornerstone of classical logic and a fundamental tenet in many areas of philosophy.

Q: What is cognitive dissonance, and how is it related to the non-contradiction principle (NCP)?

Cognitive Dissonance: Cognitive dissonance is a psychological phenomenon that occurs when an individual holds two or more conflicting ideas, attitudes, values, or beliefs simultaneously. This internal inconsistency creates a state of discomfort, tension, or stress, which motivates the individual to reduce the cognitive dissonance by changing their beliefs, attitudes, or behaviors.

Leon Festinger’s Theory: Cognitive dissonance was first theorized by psychologist Leon Festinger in 1957. According to Festinger’s theory, when an individual experiences cognitive dissonance, they will tend to:

1. Avoid the situation: Try to avoid the situation or context that is causing the dissonance.
2. Change their attitude: Modify their attitude or belief to reduce the dissonance.
3. Add consonant cognitions: Acquire new information or beliefs that support their original attitude, reducing the dissonance.

Relationship with the Non-Contradiction Principle (NCP): Cognitive dissonance is closely related to the non-contradiction principle (NCP) because:

1. Contrary beliefs: Cognitive dissonance arises when an individual holds contrary beliefs or attitudes that cannot be simultaneously true.
2. Inconsistent information: The presence of cognitive dissonance indicates that the individual has encountered inconsistent information, which challenges their existing beliefs and attitudes.
3. Reducing tension: The goal of reducing cognitive dissonance is to eliminate the tension or discomfort caused by holding contradictory beliefs.

In this sense, cognitive dissonance can be seen as a psychological manifestation of the non-contradiction principle. When an individual encounters contradictory information or beliefs, they experience cognitive dissonance, which motivates them to resolve the inconsistency and restore cognitive consistency.

Implications: Cognitive dissonance has significant implications for our understanding of human behavior, decision-making, and learning:

1. Influence on attitudes: Cognitive dissonance can lead to changes in an individual’s attitudes or beliefs as they attempt to reduce the tension.
2. Motivation for change: The experience of cognitive dissonance can motivate individuals to seek out new information or reassess their existing beliefs and attitudes.
3. Cognitive flexibility: Cognitive dissonance can also promote cognitive flexibility, as individuals are forced to adapt and adjust their beliefs in response to conflicting information.

In summary, cognitive dissonance is a psychological phenomenon that arises when an individual holds contradictory beliefs or attitudes. This experience is closely related to the non-contradiction principle (NCP), as it involves the tension created by holding inconsistent information. The reduction of cognitive dissonance can lead to changes in attitudes, motivation for change, and increased cognitive flexibility.

Q: How might confirmation bias be a way for lazy thinkers to avoid the discomfort that people feel when there is a contradiction, and how is it related to the non-contradiction principle?

Confirmation bias can indeed serve as a coping mechanism for individuals who prefer not to confront contradictions or challenges to their beliefs. By selectively seeking out information that confirms their existing views, individuals with confirmation bias avoid the discomfort associated with encountering contradictory evidence.

In this sense, confirmation bias can be seen as an unconscious attempt to maintain cognitive consistency by avoiding the discomfort of cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is a psychological state characterized by feelings of tension or discomfort when two or more conflicting ideas, attitudes, or values coexist.

The non-contradiction principle (NCP) plays a crucial role in understanding how confirmation bias relates to cognitive dissonance:

1. Avoiding NCP: Confirmation bias helps individuals avoid the implications of the NCP by selectively filtering out contradictory information. By doing so, they can maintain the illusion that their beliefs are consistent and coherent, without having to confront the possibility of contradictions.
2. Maintaining Cognitive Consistency: Confirmation bias enables individuals to maintain cognitive consistency by avoiding the discomfort associated with encountering contradictory evidence. This helps them avoid the mental effort required to reconcile conflicting ideas or attitudes.
3. Reduced Cognitive Discomfort: By relying on confirmation bias, individuals can reduce their exposure to cognitive dissonance and the emotional distress that comes with it. This avoidance strategy allows them to maintain a sense of mental comfort and stability.

However, this coping mechanism has significant drawbacks:

1. Limited Learning: Confirmation bias hinders learning and personal growth by limiting exposure to diverse perspectives and new information.
2. Increased Cognitive Effort: Over time, confirmation bias can lead to increased cognitive effort as individuals must constantly work to reconcile their beliefs with the absence of contradictory evidence.
3. Reduced Critical Thinking: By relying on confirmation bias, individuals may develop a diminished capacity for critical thinking, as they become less inclined to consider alternative perspectives or challenge their own assumptions.

In conclusion, confirmation bias can be seen as an unconscious attempt to avoid cognitive dissonance by selectively seeking out information that confirms existing beliefs. This coping mechanism is related to the non-contradiction principle in that it helps individuals maintain cognitive consistency and reduce their exposure to contradictory evidence. However, this approach has significant drawbacks and can limit personal growth, learning, and critical thinking.

Q: What is psychological compartmentalization, and how does it relate to cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias?

Psychological Compartmentalization: Psychological compartmentalization refers to the tendency of an individual to mentally separate or partition their thoughts, feelings, and experiences into distinct, isolated “compartments” that are not interconnected. This allows them to maintain a sense of coherence and consistency within each compartment, even if it means ignoring or suppressing information that challenges their beliefs or attitudes.

Relationship with Cognitive Dissonance: Psychological compartmentalization is closely related to cognitive dissonance:

1. Isolation of conflicting information: Compartmentalization enables individuals to isolate conflicting information and store it in separate mental compartments, reducing the tension caused by cognitive dissonance.
2. Maintenance of cognitive consistency: By keeping contradictory ideas or attitudes separated, compartmentalization helps maintain cognitive consistency within each compartment, even if it means ignoring or downplaying the significance of the conflicting information.
3. Avoidance of cognitive dissonance: Compartmentalization can serve as a coping mechanism to avoid the discomfort caused by cognitive dissonance. By mentally separating conflicting information, individuals may feel more comfortable and less motivated to reconcile their beliefs or attitudes.

Relationship with Confirmation Bias: Psychological compartmentalization is also related to confirmation bias:

1. Selective exposure to information: Compartmentalization can lead to selective exposure to information that supports one’s existing beliefs or attitudes, while ignoring or downplaying contradictory evidence.
2. Maintenance of mental coherence: By maintaining mental coherence within each compartment, individuals may be more likely to rely on confirmation bias, as they are less motivated to consider alternative perspectives or challenge their own assumptions.
3. Avoidance of cognitive dissonance: Compartmentalization can also serve as a means of avoiding cognitive dissonance by selectively exposing oneself to information that confirms existing beliefs or attitudes, rather than seeking out diverse perspectives or considering contradictory evidence.

Implications: Psychological compartmentalization has significant implications for our understanding of human decision-making and behavior:

1. Limited problem-solving: Compartmentalization can limit an individual’s ability to solve complex problems by isolating relevant information and ignoring alternative perspectives.
2. Reduced creativity: By mentally separating ideas and experiences, compartmentalization may reduce an individual’s creative potential, as they are less likely to consider novel or innovative solutions.
3. Increased risk-taking: Compartmentalization can lead to increased risk-taking behavior, as individuals may be more willing to take risks within a specific mental compartment without considering the broader implications.

In summary, psychological compartmentalization is the tendency to mentally separate and isolate thoughts, feelings, and experiences into distinct compartments. This relates to cognitive dissonance by enabling individuals to avoid the tension caused by contradictory information, and to confirmation bias by selectively exposing oneself to information that confirms existing beliefs or attitudes. Compartmentalization has significant implications for problem-solving, creativity, and risk-taking behavior.

Q: How might the dunning-kruger effect be related to cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias?

The Dunning-Kruger effect, cognitive dissonance, and confirmation bias are interrelated cognitive phenomena that can influence an individual’s perception of their abilities and beliefs.

The Dunning-Kruger effect refers to the tendency of individuals with low competence in a particular domain to overestimate their abilities, while those with high competence tend to underestimate their abilities. This occurs because individuals with low competence lack the metacognitive skills to accurately assess their own knowledge and abilities.

These three phenomena can be interconnected in various ways. For example, individuals who are subject to the Dunning-Kruger effect may experience cognitive dissonance when confronted with evidence of their incompetence. In response, they may engage in confirmation bias by selectively seeking out information that supports their inflated self-assessment, while ignoring or downplaying evidence to the contrary. This can create a self-perpetuating cycle of ignorance and overconfidence, further reinforcing the Dunning-Kruger effect.

~Gab AI

Unfortunately, most people treat contradictions and contrast the way they treat the contrast provided by their bladders when they need to urinate, they immediately seek the nearest toilet and relieve the stress. The actual solution to working through cognitive dissonance when one experiences contrast and contradictions, the conformation bias that only seeks information that confirms one’s pre-established beliefs and norms, and rather than pressuring those in the external world into conformity that aligns with one’s underlying assumptions and beliefs, is to do what Carl Jung termed “holding the tension of opposites”:

Carl Jung believed that holding the tension of opposites was crucial for personal growth, wholeness, and soul development. He saw this concept as a fundamental aspect of the human psyche, where opposing forces are in constant interaction and tension. This tension can be uncomfortable, but it is necessary for the development of consciousness and the integration of the personality.

The Importance of Tension

According to Jung, the tension of opposites is essential for energy and creativity. When we are faced with a choice between two opposing forces, we are forced to confront our own biases and limitations, leading to a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world around us. This tension can also lead to a sense of wholeness, as we begin to integrate our opposing forces and reconcile our contradictions.

The Consequences of Avoiding Tension

On the other hand, avoiding the tension of opposites can lead to stagnation and one-sidedness. When we refuse to confront our contradictions, we may become stuck in a state of dualistic thinking, where we see the world in black and white terms. This can lead to a lack of creativity, emotional numbness, and a sense of disconnection from others and ourselves.

Practicing the Tension of Opposites

To practice holding the tension of opposites, Jung recommended embracing the discomfort and uncertainty that comes with it. This can be done by:

  • Acknowledging and accepting our contradictions and biases
  • Seeking out opposing viewpoints and perspectives
  • Practicing active listening and empathy towards others
  • Engaging in introspection and self-reflection
  • Embracing the uncertainty and ambiguity that comes with the tension of opposites

By holding the tension of opposites, we can cultivate a more nuanced and compassionate understanding of ourselves and the world around us. This can lead to greater emotional intelligence, creativity, and a deeper sense of connection and harmony with others.

~Brave AI

Here’s a great quote on the topic by Marion Woodman:

“Holding an inner or outer conflict quietly instead of attempting to resolve it quickly is a difficult idea to entertain. It is even more challenging to experience. However, as Carl Jung believed, if we held the tension between the two opposing forces, there would emerge a third way, which would unite and transcend the two. Indeed, he believed that this transcendent force was crucial to individuation. Whatever the third way is, it usually comes as a surprise, because it has not penetrated our defenses until now. A hasty move to resolve tension can abort growth of the new. If we can hold conflict in psychic utero long enough we can give birth to something new in ourselves.”

– Marion Woodman

Learning dialectical thinking in the strong sense is an essential tool in the process of performing Jung’s “holding the tension of opposites,” because it allows for the discomfort to have a means of finding a resolution to the tension by giving birth to the third option, known as the “synthesis”.

Dialectical Thinking: Dialogical thinking (thinking within more than one perspective) conducted to test the strengths and weaknesses of opposing points of view. (Court trials and debates are, in a sense, dialectical.) When thinking dialectically, reasoners pit two or more opposing points of view in competition with each other, developing each by providing support, raising objections, countering those objections, raising further objections, and so on. Dialectical thinking or discussion can be conducted so as to “win” by defeating the positions one disagrees with — using critical insight to support one’s own view and pointing out flaws in other views (associated with critical thinking in the restricted or weak sense), or fairmindedly, by conceding points that don’t stand up to critique, trying to integrate or incorporate strong points found in other views, and using critical insight to develop a fuller and more accurate view (associated with critical thinking in the fuller or strong sense).

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