Church employee to me: Did you know that the roof of the David O McKay Building has been condemned by the inspectors at Hamilton City?
Me: Here is a copy of an email from Hamilton City that states the roof of the David O McKay Building has not been condemned.
Church employee: Speechless
Me: Someone has lied to you and you have spread that lie. Should we not do something about it and tell people the truth?
Church employee: I did not know that it was a lie.
Me: But you do now.
Church employee: There is nothing that I can do about it. I have to leave and go to another meeting. Sorry that I can not help you.
Confirmation bias, also called confirmatory bias or myside bias, is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s preexisting beliefs or hypotheses, while giving disproportionately less consideration to alternative possibilities. It is a type of cognitive bias and a systematic error of inductive reasoning. People display this bias when they gather or remember information selectively, or when they interpret it in a biased way. The effect is stronger for emotionally charged issues and for deeply entrenched beliefs. People also tend to interpret ambiguous evidence as supporting their existing position.
In psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time, performs an action that is contradictory to one or more beliefs, ideas, or values, or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values.
Leon Festinger‘s theory of cognitive dissonance focuses on how humans strive for internal consistency. An individual who experiences inconsistency (dissonance) tends to become psychologically uncomfortable, and is motivated to try to reduce this dissonance—as well as actively avoid situations and information likely to increase it.