Confirmation Bias Do You Know That You Do This? 

By Ange Fonce 

If you do not know about "confirmation bias" then you are not alone... because all of us do it to some degree. 

And it can make influencing and persuading people more difficult or way easier! 

Now what am I talking about? 

Confirmation Bias... 

So what is confirmation bias

It is the tendency in all of us to search for and interpret information that confirms our perceptions. 

In other words... we give more weight to information that aligns with our beliefs and biases regardless of whether in reality it actually relates to those beliefs or not. 

Let me give you an example... 

There is a woman I know who believes that bad things happen in 3s... particularly with regard to death... so if she hears about a relative that passes away she goes into full blown alert... the alert stops only when she hears about two more people dying... they do not even necessarily have to be relatives or close friends... as long as they are people that she knows or has heard of... like a friend of a friend of a friend... she searches for information until she knows that there have been 3 deaths and then she can relax... until it starts all over again... to my mind that is one hell of a stressful belief to possess. 

Now... suppose that you support a certain political figure and you learn that they have been accused of something inappropriate like lying... cheating... stealing... etc... hmm seems like the average politician to me... anyway lets us carry on. 

If this is truly someone that you have supported... then you may have a different interpretation of the “evidence.” 

"Did they get caught cheating on their spouse with someone else?" 

Then maybe they were set up by their opponent. 

"Were they accused of obtaining money for their campaign illegally?" 

Then there must have been an accounting error. 

"Were they quoted on TV or in the newspaper saying one thing and then denied saying it?" 

Then clearly their words must have been misinterpreted by the media. 

Make sense? 

If you want to see an experiment regarding confirmation bias that will blow your mind then check out these videos here... it is about 8 minutes long and there is no selling at the end... I just want you to see how powerful "confirmation bias" is in one video and also understand what is known as the Barnum Effect

So how does knowing about "confirmation bias" hinder your opportunity of influencing or persuading someone? 

Well if what you are suggesting is in direct opposition to what your listener believes... then you are going to have an uphill battle in terms of influencing or persuading them... on the other hand... knowing what you now know about "confirmation bias"... how would you use this to enhance your ability to influence or persuade people? 

To quickly review what I have shared so far... I mentioned that "confirmation bias" is the tendency in all of us to look for evidence that supported our beliefs... that we are in fact more susceptible to a favorable interpretation of some evidence based on those ideas we hold dear to us or that we are committed to. 

So how can this be used to improve your ability to influence or persuade people? 

Well... if you can find out what your listeners beliefs or ideals are... you can use that information as a stepping stone to introduce something that you want the listener to do... and depending on the question you ask them... you can even suggest that something may be a belief or ideal of theirs even if it is not. 

Let me give you an example... 

Do you consider yourself the type of person... that is open to listening to new ideas about how to influence and persuade people? 

Now be careful when you answer that question... first of all it is a loaded question... in other words when I asked... if you are the type of person that is “open”... I am "seeding" you to answer “yes” even if you have never thought about the question before. 


Because how many people like to think of themselves as being “closed?” 

Not very many. 

The other thing to be aware of is that I am also with this question implying that maybe part of your identity... if you answered yes to the question... is “someone who is open to new ideas about how to influence and persuade people.” 

Because now when I ask you to do something on how to influence and persuade people... you are going to be “primed” toward doing it. 


Because you have already identified yourself as someone who is interested in listening to new ideas about how to influence and persuade people... there is the "confirmation bias!" 

So to turn around and “act” like you are not open to new ideas would go against what you have just "confirmed" to yourself. 

You are “seeding confirmation bias" on someone by "suggestion" in asking them a simple question. 

Here is another example... 

This one comes from a book by Anthony Cialdini entitled... Influence The Psychology of Persuasion... which I highly recommend you read and another great book to read... The Science of Influence by Doctor Kevin Hogan

Here is one experiment that Dr. Cialdini talks about in his book. 

He talks about an experiment where a researcher... who posing as a volunteer worker went door to door in a California neighborhood making a preposterous request. 

He asked the homeowners if they would allow a public service billboard to be installed on their front lawns... the billboards were huge and basically blocked the view of the house... such a request like this is refused by the majority of people... 83% of the other residents in the area... yet with this particular group a full 76% offered the use of their front yard. 

So why did 76% of the homeowners agree to have this huge and unattractive billboard in the front yard? 

Because 2 weeks earlier another volunteer had come to their doors and asked them to accept and display a little 3 inch square sign that read be a safe driver. 

Dr. Cialdini explained that the effects of this simple request were enormous... because they had complied with the innocent request... ie... "seeded"... they had become remarkably willing to comply with another request that was massive in size. 

Dr. Cialdini went on to explain that it was the homeowners need to remain consistent that led them to agreeing to have the bigger billboard in the front yard after they had displayed the smaller sign in their window... another explanation is that when asked about whether they would display the bigger billboard... they had already thought of themselves as “civic minded” due to their participation in displaying the smaller sign... so making the request for larger billboard... kept with their "confirmation bias" of being "civic minded." 

So one way of using the idea of "confirmation bias" to your favour is to find out what the beliefs and ideals are of the person you are trying to influence and then ask them to do something similar. 

You could also ask if they are “open” to doing something or being something and then follow up with a similar question that would ask more of what they are. 

Thank you and may you enjoy a Prosperous and Dynamic day!

Yours Sincerely


Intellectual Badass... noun

1... A person with a penchant for Science... creativity... computers... books... writing... women... sexing... sexuality... human relationships... psychology... physiology and any other area involving heavy use of the Intellect.

2... A bright "kick arse" person who is glamorously Intelligent!

3... Ange is an Author... Speaker... and Dynamic Peak Performance Personal Development Consultant... and Humanistic Counselling Psychologist and Sexologist... who works with men and women who desire to personally develop themselves and their relationships to become Dynamic Lifers... creators of their own life and wealth! 

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