Verifying Data and how People Believe Fallacies

July 16th, 2020

Do you know if the facts support what you believe are true?



Today’s blog is by Margaret Stewart, Director of HR and Administration at SafeSourcing.

In today’s social media prevalent world and access to every kind of information, how do you determine what is true and what is not true? In my own experiences, many people tend to believe things that align with their own personal beliefs rather than the credibility of the source. For example, one may be more inclined to defend an untrue or misleading news article if it ultimately supports their political, religious, or moral position, and this holds true across the board. In fact, this is so common there is a name for it – Confirmation Bias. Confirmation bias is so strong that two people with opposing views can read the same information and have different interpretations that confirm their own beliefs.

For many, once the false information has been said, they may forever consider it true regardless if it can be proven untrue. This is especially true if it was the first time one heard about it. This is called the Anchoring Bias. The Anchoring Bias is where a person will regard a piece of information true if it was presented first, not necessarily if the data is true or misleading. From here they build upon that idea and rarely change their opinion from the one initially presented.

If a piece of information can be proven untrue, people often determine their own opinions were always in line with it. This is called Hindsight Bias. Hindsight Bias states that people will reflect back on their previous predictions and insist they were in line with what actually happened, which is why it is sometimes also called knew-it-all-along bias. For example, if someone is going to flip a coin and asks you to mentally predict what the outcome will be, once the coin is flipped and has a result, you will likely recall that you predicted it correctly.

Ultimately, there are a number of ways we can convince ourselves that what we read, what we believe, and what has happened all align with our own personal views – regardless of whether or not it is true. The three biases mentioned above are just a small amount of cognitive tricks our minds can play on us without even knowing it. So how does one overcome a bias? First, acknowledging that there are these biases can help one realize they have become susceptible. Another great way to uncover biases is to seek other perspectives. Sometimes just listening to someone else’s point of view can bring in new light to any idea, problem, or situation. This idea can especially hold true in business. For example, a business may need more of a product, but the supplier keeps raising their price. This business may believe that the product they order is the best and no other person can supply it for them. However, but reaching out for a new perspective, like a procurement partner such as SafeSourcing, this business may find out that not only are there a large number of options available for said product, but also a large number of people ready to provide that product with benefits above what they currently have.

If you want an outside perspective on the challenges your business faces, help with souring the products you seek, or on our Risk Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.


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