In this post you’ll learn the answer for the questions: what is the confirmation bias? and what role does it play in any form of persuasion effort?
On the “Conservatism bias” post, we say that the most important part of a persuasion strategy is the person who will be persuaded. By taking this approach, we focus on the part of target that we can understand and thus can explore. The result is a strategy that better suits the target/ prospect(in marketing). One bias that humans have that revolves around their specific preferences and values is the confirmation bias.
What is the confirmation bias
The confirmation bias is the tendency of people to seek information that supports their assumed values/beliefs and to ignore any form of dis-confirming evidence. This is the bias scientists work so hard to avoid through the application of the scientific method in the study of their latest hypothesis about of the world. A person who believes that the world is against her, will unconsciously see and remember the moments in which people were against her. A person who only believes in positivism is more likely to do the opposite, looking and remember only the positive things that happened to her, while ignoring the bad ones. An extreme example of the confirmation bias is when the person sees both the confirmation evidence,and the disproving evidence, as a confirmation of their beliefs. An example of this is a person who believes in conspiracy theories and assumes that the fact that there is no evidence confirming her theory is an evidence for the fact that the government is good at covering its trails.
What role does it play in persuasion?
In any persuasion effort, the confirmation bias will either make the persuasion harder or way easier. When a person comes with an existing set of values and you attempt to make them change by pointing the flaws in their beliefs, the person is more likely to underplay the evidence you present. When whatever you need the person to do not only doesn’t violate their beliefs but also reinforces them, the person becomes more prone to complying.
The fact that the confirmation bias is rooted on the target’s beliefs, it means that it can easily be used for evil, as long as your persuasion strategy validates the person’s beliefs. Just like the dark forms of search engine optimization, this form of persuasion can perfectly work on the short term, but its definitely not a long term strategy.
It is all about knowledge and experience;)
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