Posted by & filed under Attitude Formation Change, Consciousness, Industrial Organizational Psychlology, Language-Thought, Persuasion, Social Cognition, Social Influence.

Description: Okay I am not going to provide a detailed introduction to this one. Go to the first article link below, to read the introduction, and then try and figure out the rule behind the number sequence shown. Try a few examples and on the basis of your feedback try and articulate in a simple a language as possible what the rule is this being followed in the number sequence. Once you submit your written rule read the feedback that you receive.

Source: A Quick Puzzle To Test Your Problem Solving, David Leonhardt, the Upshot, New York Times.

Date: March 6, 2016


Photo Credit: NY Times

Links: Article Links —

This demonstration, provides a really good example of the tyranny of confirmation bias. More specifically, once we think we have an answer to a particular question we practically never ask ourselves whether that’s the only answer or whether it’s even the simplest answer and we carry on as if we have nothing else to think about. While this may not be a big deal with number sequences (who really cares about number sequences) it may actually be quite a big deal when we realize that how we think about the simple number sequence example is actually reflective of how we think about an awful lot of other things that may matter a hold on more than number sequences. Read through the article linked in through the second link above so that you can see more clearly the potential problems of having an internal yes-man or more specifically using confirmation bias.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is a confirmation bias and how does it apply to the number sequence problem?
  2. What sorts of problems can arise from confirmation bias, not just in terms of number sequence problems but more generally?
  3. What sort of things might we do in order to avoid the potential negative consequences of confirmation bias?

References (Read Further):

Nickerson, R. S. (1998). Confirmation bias: A ubiquitous phenomenon in many guises. Review of general psychology, 2(2), 175.

Knobloch‐Westerwick, S., Johnson, B. K., & Westerwick, A. (2015). Confirmation bias in online searches: Impacts of selective exposure before an election on political attitude strength and shifts. Journal of ComputerMediated Communication, 20(2), 171-187.