Browse Definitions:
Definition

confirmation bias

Confirmation bias is a type of mistake that occurs in thinking when information that confirms a pre-existing belief is given priority over information that does not support a preexisting belief. Informally, confirmation bias is sometimes referred to as wishful thinking.

Confirmation bias occurs when people filter out facts and opinions that don’t coincide with their preconceived notions. When a decision is made before all the data is examined, there is a danger of falling prey to confirmation bias, even when someone is trying to be objective.

In predictive modeling and big data analytics, confirmation bias can steer an analyst towards seeking evidence that favors an initial hypothesis. For example, the analyst might frame survey questions in such a way that all answers support a particular point of view.  Interpretation of information can also hold a bias. Two analysts can review the same data, but select different aspects of the data to support each of their individual preferred outcomes. Because people tend to remember information that reinforces the way they already think, memory also plays a part in confirmation bias. This effect is called confirmatory memory or selective recall.

Confirmation bias can lead to data confabulation, the selective and possibly misleading use of data to support a decision that has already been made. To deal with and combat confirmation bias, it is important to be aware of its existence and the danger it poses. It is also important to actively seek out information that disagrees with a preexisting point of view, ask opposing or challenging questions and keep information channels open to consistently update current beliefs.

Learn more about confirmation bias:

This was last updated in February 2017

Continue Reading About confirmation bias

Join the conversation

1 comment

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

How do you overcome confirmation bias when faced with new challenging information?
Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...

  • risk assessment

    Risk assessment is the identification of hazards that could negatively impact an organization's ability to conduct business.

SearchSecurity

  • principle of least privilege (POLP)

    The principle of least privilege (POLP), an important concept in computer security, is the practice of limiting access rights for...

  • identity management (ID management)

    Identity management (ID management) is the organizational process for identifying, authenticating and authorizing individuals or ...

  • zero-day (computer)

    A zero-day vulnerability, also known as a computer zero day, is a flaw in software, hardware or firmware that is unknown to the ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)

    Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are closely related practices that describe an organization's preparation for ...

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

SearchStorage

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.

Close