Teaching Psychology : An Exploration into the Methods of Reducing Confirmation Bias
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Confirmation bias occurs when one has a hypothesis and seeks evidence consistent with their views. Engaging in confirmation bias is prevalent in both the lab and in everyday settings and can lead to negative consequences. While there is evidence that shows ways to reduce confirmation bias, there has been little research done investigating how teaching style could play a role in reducing confirmation bias. This study explores a method that teachers could implement to reduce confirmation bias among students. Two experimental groups were created: an “intervention group”, where students were taught ways to reduce confirmation bias in an informative and interactive manner, and a “lecture only” group, where students were taught in an informative however non-interactive manner. Data collected from the study measured the number of confirmatory versus disconfirmatory searches students made when asked to evaluate or seek for evidence and when given either an artificial hypothesis scenario or prior belief scenario. We found that students chose more confirming options than disconfirming options regardless of their group. In addition, students were more likely to choose disconfirming options for evaluating questions than seeking questions. Finally, the intervention group was more likely to disconfirm artificial hypothesis scenarios than prior belief scenarios. Although our hypothesis that the intervention group will engage in significantly more disconfirming evidence searches compared to the lecture only group was not shown, this study continues to support the robustness of confirmation bias and how future research in reducing its effects is still needed.