Re: [SystemSafety] Fwd: Contextualizing & Confirmation Bias

From: Derek M Jones < >
Date: Wed, 05 Feb 2014 21:02:20 +0000


Peter,

Found a link to the Millikan lab book pictures: http://algol.fis.uc.pt/forum/millikan.pdf I gave Millikan as an example because of his belief about what the value of the charge should, not that a smallest unit of charge existed.

One of the postgrads in the electronics lab once told me, an undergraduate at the time, that they sometimes switched on the large magnetic field generator in the corner before students started running experiments. It seems that this did not prevent the students reporting the expected results (which should have been completely distorted by the field generator).

> The term "confirmation bias" originally refers to the following phenomenon. (1) You believe A. (2)
> You act as if A. (3) You experience the world as if A is true. (4) You end up believing A more than
> you did at the beginning simply because of that.

What about Bertrand Russell's turkeys that get fed everyday and infer I am always fed at 9 a.m.. Come Christmas eve all but one suddenly find out they guilty of confirmation bias.

Would you say that all the Turkeys with the exception of the one pardoned by the President are guilty of confirmation bias?

The cognitive psychology books sitting on my shelf appear to use conformation bias in the Bertrand Russell Turkey sense.

However, the "MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences" says (much to my surprise):
"That is, subjects will conduct an experiment that will generate a result that is predicted by their hypothesis. This is known as confirmation bias"

Just found it online:
http://www.ru.lv/~peter/zinatne/ebooks/MIT.Encyclopedia.of.the.Cognitive.Sciences.pdf but I would recommend a hardcopy for the imposing presence it radiates from ones bookshelf.

-- 
Derek M. Jones                  tel: +44 (0) 1252 520 667
Knowledge Software Ltd          blog:shape-of-code.coding-guidelines.com
Software analysis               http://www.knosof.co.uk
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Received on Wed Feb 05 2014 - 22:02:59 CET

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