Why bias is difficult to overcome
The studies on this subject are utterly unconvincing to me. Here is my alternate view.
First of all, one cannot assume that humans have an innate desire to seek the truth. Second of all, the formation of bias is rooted in infant psychology, Pavlovian conditioning and psychosocial assimilation rather than on thought or thinking. And thirdly, bias is rooted in irrationality, not in rationality. And fourthly, bias is rooted in emotionalism rather than in rational and logical reasoning.
A Hispanic mother used to tell her daughter: Los chinos son sucios.
Some Hispanic men who work for a Chinese employer told me: Los chinos son muy inteligente.
Both are biases.
“Bias confirmation” is a process which confirms preexisting bias. “Cognition” of bias precedes “bias confirmation”. “Cognition” of bias is a personal, irrational and emotional acceptance of someone else’s bias, such as the biases of one’s parents, or the acceptance of ideological and political propaganda.
Relatively closed communities and societies, provincialism, intense nationalism, protectionism, all reinforce bias. Relatively open communities and societies, internationalism and globalism, can contribute to changing one’s bias.
Infants react to the mother’s smiles with pleasurable smiles, and infants react to the mother’s frowns by crying.
Pleasure and displeasure felt by the infant are classical conditioning by the smiles and the frowns of the mother. Bias forms towards expressions that bring about pleasure, confirmation, comfort, and confidence. And from infancy onwards, humans grow up seeking confirmation of bias.
Sweet sugary foods big us pleasure and induce our bias towards liking candy. Comfort foods increase our sense of comfort. We seek confirmation by eating more comfort foods.
Therefore, assimilation of bias is a process that is irrational and emotional.
We resist changing our biases because the alternative is accepting opinions that are unpleasant to us. To give up pleasant irrational and emotional thoughts and misbeliefs that have been pleasurable is tantamount to giving up the feeling of certainty and security for uncertainty, doubt, insecurity, and anxiety. Rationality, reasonableness, facts and truths are rejected.
Psychosocial assimilation of bias can be observed in Taiwan where some radical youths have behaved irrationally and emotionally, acting in antisocial and destructive ways against symbols of pride for most people. Such behavior stems from political bias of the fanatical Taiwan independence advocates of the Democratic Progressive Party and President Tsai Ing-wen herself. Such behavior is also the result of the “Taiwanization” campaign and the “de-Chinalization” campaign of that political party.