In my last article, I talked about confirmation bias and how it might impact how you interact with research. Today we are going to talk about some tips for how you can counter that as you explore and read research.
Change your mindset from conviction to curiosity
When we think about research, the temptation is to want to prop up our existing beliefs. Be willing to have your existing beliefs challenged. Be open to evolving your beliefs when presented with new information, and to finding truth over being right.
Seek out and aim to understand opposing viewpoints
Don’t just surround yourself with people who believe as you do. When you do that, you end up in an echo chamber and prevent yourself from growth and change. Engage with those who have different perspectives. Read through research studies from your own perspective, and then read again, aiming to take the perspective of those who disagree with you.
Think about how you are thinking
Pay attention to your quickest reactions – if you catch yourself thinking “I knew it!” or “there’s no way that’s right!” that’s a great time to stop and look carefully at what assumptions you’re making. And challenge those assumptions!
You’re not a bad person for having confirmation bias, we all do! But confirmation bias can trap us and limit our growth and thinking so if we pay attention to how it can influence our thinking, and mitigate its effects, we can learn and grow in our underestanding.
I was inspired to write this article by Nir Eyal and Lakshmi Mani, who wrote this excellent piece on Confirmation Bias and Why You Make Terrible Life Choices. I adapted their concepts to the birth research realm.