Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Confirmation Bias

       For those not familiar with the term "confirmation bias" if you could just look it up. I bring this up because if you are dealing with a person with Autism or any other "label", always remember that you are more likely to notice things that confirm what you were presuming. If one is to presume anything, presume the best at least. Bias is a huge part of human nature. It is part of the ego, its everywhere and no human is immune to it. No one wants to be wrong about a person. We tend to like to think that our first impressions and gut feelings about a person are always right. Many times this is subconscious. Although education helps, professionals are in no way immune to confirmation bias. If for example we meet a person and we sense weakness, lets say we think this person is "slow" or naive, whether the person is or isn't we might find ourselves avoiding conversations with the person that disprove our theory. If we say a person is not mature or intelligent we might unconsciously find ourselves avoiding topics of conversation with that person that we suspect they may be well versed on. Even when we label ourselves, for example with a political/ideological label we might only pay attention to news stories which support the point of view we identify with. In many spiritual traditions the key to enlightenment is putting our biases aside, at least temporarily to get the truth. This is far easier said than done and requires humility.

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