Evidence for a pet theory

By Dr Jeremy Dean via spring.org.uk   Article

Confirmation Bias: How Intelligent People Develop Totally Incorrect Beliefs

“Study debunks long-held myth probably arising from the confirmation bias. The full moon is NOT linked to busier hospital emergency rooms or more births, a new study finds. The belief that there might be a link is likely down to a bias in the way even intelligent people think called the confirmation bias. Jean-Luc Margot, a UCLA professor of planetary astronomy, who carried out the study, said:

‘Some nurses ascribe the apparent chaos to the moon, but dozens of studies show that the belief is unfounded.’

Despite the belief being remarkably common in hospitals, the study, published in the journal Nursing Research, found no evidence for it (Margot, 2015). …

The fact that intelligent people continue to believe in things like this is at least partly down to the ‘confirmation bias‘.

It arises because people search for information that confirms their view of the world and ignore what doesn’t fit. People do it automatically, usually without realising. It’s easier to see evidence for a pet theory than imagining a new picture. It also helps people view themselves as accurate, right-thinking, consistent people who know what’s what.”

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