Hannah Moran 6D1
Discuss one or more biases in thinking and/or decision making. 
Bias refers to the disproportionate weight in favour of or against one thing. Psychologists have studies a range of cognitive biases in order to determine their roles within thinking and decision making. Cognitive bias specifically is an error in thinking that affects the decisions and judgments that people make. Thinking and decision making are both closely connected as cognitive processes, as decision making requires thought and is therefore a prerequisite of the former. Thinking, as a cognitive process, modifies previously encoded information and promotes its relevance to the contextual situation by isolating applicable information. Decision making is similar, however always involves as choice between two or more alternatives.
One specific form of bias is known as confirmation bias. It is described as the tendency to seek out information to confirm what you already believe. When an individual is presented with information and selectively retains the details which confirm their original beliefs and ignores contradictions to that belief, they are said to be displaying this form of bias. A series of psychological experiments have been conducted since the 1960s to confirm the theory behind this bias’ existence. In 1983, Darley and Gross conducted a laboratory experiment to explore whether social schemas affected the views of individuals through confirmation bias in the social world. 67 undergraduate students were selected through a convenience sampling strategy and were divided into two groups. Each group was shown a video of a girl playing in opposing social environments; in one group the video showed the girl playing in a high socioeconomic status environment, and the other group saw a video of a girl playing in a low socioeconomic status environment. Both groups were then shown the same video of the girl taking part in an intelligence test. Upon watching the video the participants were asked to rate their predictions of the girls performance on the test.
The results of this study displayed that the participants who viewed the girl in a high socioeconomic status environment predicted that the girl would have performed much better in the intelligence test compared to the results provided by the group viewing the girl in the lower socioeconomic status environment. Furthermore, both groups cited evidence from the intelligence test to support their conclusions. The findings of the study demonstrate the existence of confirmation bias, in that the participants assumed that because of the girls association with a low socioeconomic environment, her education and therefore intelligence is of a lower quality. The participants likely used social schemas of the attributes stereotypically linked with ‘rich’ and ‘poor’ environments and interpreted the ambiguous information accordingly.
Due to the nature of the experiment as laboratory however, this research lacks ecologi...