Motivated reasoning

Pat Croskerry croskerry at EASTLINK.CA
Sun Jan 15 22:30:07 UTC 2017


Hi Bill and Gerrit. 

I don't see much difference between myside bias ('. when people evaluate
evidence, generate evidence, and test hypotheses in a manner biased toward
their own prior opinions and attitudes - Stanovich et al, 2013), and
confirmation bias (.the tendency to seek confirmation for opinions and
beliefs already held and to ignore disconfirming evidence - Nickerson,
1998). Maybe myside bias is a bit more consciously deliberate, whereas with
confirmation bias we tend not to be so aware? Motivated reasoning seems to
be taking confirmation bias to a higher level ('Motivated reasoning leads
people to confirm what they already believe, while ignoring contrary data.
But it also drives people to develop elaborate rationalizations to justify
holding beliefs that logic and evidence have shown to be wrong. Motivated
reasoning responds defensively to contrary evidence, actively discrediting
such evidence or its source without logical or evidentiary justification.
Clearly, motivated reasoning is emotion driven' - Skeptics dictionary) 

As far as positive test strategy goes, I think it came down to a
psychologist (Wason) using confirmation bias to explain the results of a
study he had done looking at subject's responses to finding a rule which
applied to sets of numbers. He would give them a series of 3 numbers and
they would have to guess what the rule was and he would tell them whether
they were correct or not on successive tries. Their strategy appeared to be
attempts to confirm the rule rather than to try to disprove the rule - hence
Wason's conclusion. However, other psychologists came along later and
labelled it a Positive Test Strategy which they felt was aimed at a simpler
approach - choose a strategy that has the biggest impact on your belief in
your current hypothesis. This does appear to differ slightly from
confirmation bias.

As with most biases, there appear to be others that are doing the same
thing, and any differences are fairly subtle e.g.  I sometimes get into
discussions with students who can't see a difference between search
satisficing and premature closure - it is there.

I think the important thing is to be aware that biases are there, whether we
get their exact identity of not - Linnaeus might have disagreed!  

 

Pat

 

 

From: Follansbee, William [mailto:follansbeewp at UPMC.EDU] 
Sent: January 15, 2017 2:41 PM
To: IMPROVEDX at LIST.IMPROVEDIAGNOSIS.ORG
Subject: Re: [IMPROVEDX] Motivated reasoning

 

Hi Pat,

 

I am wondering how myside bias is different from confirmation bias? They
seem to be very similar.

 

Best,

Bill

 

William P. Follansbee, M.D., FACC, FACP, FASNC

The Master Clinician Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine

Director, The UPMC Clinical Center for Medical Decision Making

Suite A429 UPMC Presbyterian

200 Lothrop Street

Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Phone: 412-647-3437

Fax: 412-647-3873

Email:  <mailto:follansbeewp at upmc.edu> follansbeewp at upmc.edu

 



 

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From: Pat Croskerry [ <mailto:croskerry at EASTLINK.CA>
mailto:croskerry at EASTLINK.CA] 
Sent: Friday, January 13, 2017 2:07 PM
To:  <mailto:IMPROVEDX at LIST.IMPROVEDIAGNOSIS.ORG>
IMPROVEDX at LIST.IMPROVEDIAGNOSIS.ORG
Subject: Re: [IMPROVEDX] Motivated reasoning

 

The description of motivated reasoning looks very similar to that for myside
bias (but doesn't sound quite so derogatory).

Myside bias is well described in the cognitive psychology literature, and
its relevance to medicine is beginning to be felt. 

______________________________________

Pat Croskerry MD, PhD 

Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine,

Director, Critical Thinking Program,

Dalhousie University Medical School,

Halifax, Nova Scotia

CANADA

 

 

 

 

From: Mark Graber [ <mailto:graber.mark at GMAIL.COM>
mailto:graber.mark at GMAIL.COM] 
Sent: January 13, 2017 1:50 PM
To:  <mailto:IMPROVEDX at LIST.IMPROVEDIAGNOSIS.ORG>
IMPROVEDX at LIST.IMPROVEDIAGNOSIS.ORG
Subject: [IMPROVEDX] Motivated reasoning

 

For those with an interest in cognitive psychology, this is a fascinating
look at 'motivated reasoning'.  I'm not sure how much of this is relevant to
decision-making in diagnosis, but it certainly helps explain the tension
many of us feel in having a political discussion these days ;<)

 

http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/more-evidence-for-motivated-rea
soning/

 

Mark L Graber, MD FACP

President, SIDM

Senior Fellow, RTI International

Professor Emeritus, Stony Brook University, NY

 

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