Examples of Different Biases
- Confirmation bias: The tendency to seek out and interpret information in a way that confirms our existing beliefs and ignore information that contradicts them. For example, if teenagers believe their favorite band is the best, they might only pay attention to positive reviews and ignore criticism1.
- Social bias: The tendency to favor people or groups similar to us regarding race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, and other factors. For instance, a teenager might think that everyone who likes the same music as them is “cool” and anyone who doesn’t is “uncool”2.
- Implicit bias refers to unconscious biases we have towards certain social groups. These biases can influence our behavior towards members of those groups, even if we’re unaware of them. For example, teenagers might unknowingly treat classmates differently based on stereotypes they’ve heard.
Examples of how biases can impact our daily lives and decision-making process, particularly for teenagers:
- Choosing Friends: People are more likely to be attracted to and befriend people who share their beliefs and values and less likely to associate with those who don’t. For instance, a teenager might choose friends based on shared interests or hobbies, leading to a social bias. This can limit their exposure to diverse perspectives and experiences.
- Interpreting News: Confirmation bias can significantly affect how teenagers interpret news. For example, a person who believes climate change is a hoax may interpret a cold winter as evidence that the planet is not warming while disregarding the overwhelming evidence to the contrary3. Similarly, media outlets can use spin or sensational language to influence readers’ emotions and opinions. 4. This can lead to a skewed understanding of events or issues.
- Participating in Social Media: Biases can significantly impact how teenagers engage with content on social media. For instance, they might be more likely to share or engage with posts that align with their existing beliefs due to confirmation bias. This can create echo chambers and further reinforce their biases6. Additionally, the algorithms of social media platforms tend to show users content similar to what they’ve interacted with in the past, which can also reinforce existing biases4.
Texts to read before writing
- Confirmation Bias in Everyday Life: A Helpful Professor article provides 17 examples of confirmation bias. It explains how confirmation bias is when we look for information that supports our pre-existing opinion. For instance, being optimistic or pessimistic can be seen as confirmation bias. The optimist only looks for positive information, and the pessimist only looks for negative information1. Confirmation Bias in News Interpretation: An article on Verywell Mind states that one of the most common examples of confirmation bias is how we seek out or interpret news stories. We are more likely to believe a story if it confirms our pre-existing views, even if the evidence presented is shaky or inconclusive3.
- Media Bias: Politico provides news, analysis, and opinion on media bias. It discusses how media outlets can use spin or sensational language to influence readers’ emotions and opinions, leading to a skewed understanding of events or issues.
- Implicit Bias: An article on AllSides outlines 16 types of media bias and how to spot them. It discusses how journalism today often strays from objective facts, resulting in biased news and endless examples of media bias. Implicit bias is one of the types discussed, which refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that unconsciously affect our understanding, actions, and decisions.
- AI Bias: A NIST report highlights that bias in AI systems is not just a technical problem. A great deal of AI bias stems from human and systemic institutional biases.