Friday, February 15, 2013

How to redress zombie confirmation bias per Tavris & Aronson

Recall this post on confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance. All of which implies that that we can come to know a truth when we are proven wrong and change our minds accordingly. As to the assertion about self consciousness, there is still strong debate in the scientific community and it has not been 'disproven.' To the contrary, experimental evidence is ample and mounting by the month. But ironically and humorously enough, Tavris and Aronson, authors of Mistakes Were Made, support consciousness when it comes to ascertaining and admitting our mistakes.

Recall the quote I used in the linked post above: "Becoming aware that we are in a state of dissonance can help us make sharper, conscious choices instead of letting automatic, self-protective mechanisms resolve our discomfort in our favor" (226). I now have the book in front of me so let's explore this section further. Here is another excerpt:

"In our private relationships we are on our own, and that calls for some self awareness [my bold]. Once we understand how and when we need to reduce dissonance, we can become more vigilant about the process and often nip it in the bud.... By looking at our actions critically and dispassionately, as if we were observing someone else, we stand a chance of breaking out of the cycle" (225).

The next page is the original quote above. Does this sound like an unconscious zombie program? Really? It is readily apparent that for the authors confirmation bias is what the zombie does, and self awareness allows us to make conscious choices over automatic zombie prejudice. We don't just replace one zombie for another, as if another zombie will somehow fix the situation. Does that really make any sense? If so, you're likely being controlled by your biased and unconscious zombie.

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