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What is belief bias vs belief perseverance? Wikipedia defined belief bias as the tendency to judge the strength of an argument based on the plausibility of their conclusion rather than how strongly they support the conclusion. It is one of the most common cognitive biases. This means that we are more likely to accept the outcome of something if it matches our core values. It is an extremely common error. Believe bias also emphasizes that when a person makes an argument, we agree once the conclusion matches our beliefs. You are presuming on the validity of someone’s argument when belief bias comes into play. The belief is based on the believability of the person’s conclusion.

On the other hand, belief perseverance can be defined as the tendency to stick to one’s belief in the face of evidence that contradicts them. This comes when people show unwavering faith in certain beliefs and refuse to change when proved wrong. Believe perseverance is said to be a state wherein a person refuses to change his belief after being proven wrong. It also refers to belief persistence. It is the inability of people to accept new ways that contradict their beliefs. Simply put as holding on to a belief when they are not supposed to do so.

Relationship between belief bias and belief perseverance

One might think it is not bad to maintain core values and principles. It is not bad at all; in fact, it is good to stick to one’s values and principles. Our core values are what describe us. They blend in with our character and present us to people. Core values distinct you out of the many. That is where the issue of belief bias comes in. Human beings generally support a conclusion that relates to their belief. That’s human. In belief bias, we just ignore the premise and consider the conclusion.

People tend to support conclusions not based on validity but on how it conforms to their beliefs and practices. Belief bias makes people put their values first above any other thing. In the reasoning, judgment, and decision-making process, belief bias favors values and neglects validity. Their judgment is sentimentally clouded by their values and principles.  Such people can stick to those values even after being proven wrong. The relationship between belief bias and belief perseverance is glaring.

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A person can combine the two. Once he accepts a conclusion based on conformity to his values, it will be very hard to change even if proven wrong. The defense of his values will not allow him to easily give them up. It can also happen in the way a manager runs his company. A leader can stick to maintaining values while making decisions. When considering ideas to implement, a leader can cancel an idea once it doesn’t conform to the values of the group.

People are likely to endorse an argument if the conclusion doesn’t alter their beliefs and values.

A company might fail to perform or sign some deals with other companies that don’t conform to their values.

Errors in belief perseverance

Here are some Errors in belief perseverance:

Conservatism bias

This belief perseverance error occurs when people fail to integrate new knowledge and end up retaining their old beliefs. This often happens when people are not open to change. New information can alter their conclusion and judgments.

Confirmation bias

This error is belief perseverance, in which people look for information that confirms their beliefs. They tend to overlook that information that contradicts their beliefs. A common example is only considering the positive sides of investment and ignoring the negative part.

Illusion of Control

The illusion of control is an error of belief perseverance in which people think they can influence the outcome when they cannot. This thought can be persuasive enough to make decisions. The illusion of control influences our judgments and decision by giving us certain reliability on what we know.

Representativeness bias

In this error, people use past experience or information to classify new information. This is shown when using historical trends to determine conclusions. It is judging the past information as the standard for new information.

Hindsight bias

Hindsight bias is seeing actions as predictable occurrences without a shred of substantial evidence backing it. In this error, people see past events as unfailing and inevitable.

belief bias vs belief perseverance

Factors that can influence belief bias

Time: Research has shown that the amount of time available for thinking can influence the conclusion. If the time available is small, there is a higher probability of belief biased conclusions. And if the time available is much, there is time for logical reasoning. There is an imbalance in logical thinking and belief bias thinking with time differences.

Nature of argument: The nature of argument has a lot to say when deciding the conclusion. A negative argument will attract an emotional conclusion from the people. For instance, when dealing with issues pertaining to children and women, emotional support is attached. A neutral argument will be treated logically.

Available resources and instructions: In an experiment carried out in 1994. People were given detailed information about the subject which requires them to make logical conclusions. A higher percentage of the people reject invalid arguments with convincing conclusions. The same set of people was given arguments with little information about the argument. The result was belief-biased. It shows that the effects of belief bias can be reduced when elaborate information and resources are available.

Factors that can influence belief perseverance

Belief perseverance can be influenced by some factors, they include:

Readiness to change: The willingness to change can bring about belief perseverance. When people are not ready to change, they will stick to their beliefs. The change will require people to adopt new information. New information will bring about a shift in belief. No matter how much you try to change a person, the efforts will be futile if the readiness is not there.

Religious or ethnic stronghold: Religion and ethnic morality blindfold people from seeing the light even when their beliefs have been proven wrong. It is very hard to change a religious fanatic. They tend to accept assumptions based on their religious or ethnic standards. When all odds are against their beliefs, they still hold onto it. Religious and ethnic fanatics are always partial with judgment and conclusion. They analyze every argument from their religious or ethnic standards.

Fear of being left out: The fear of being left out can influence belief perseverance. It commonly happens among peers or groups. Once a member of a group sees the light, the fear of being tagged a betrayal keeps them a prisoner of their belief.

Types of belief perseverance

There are three types of belief perseverance:

  1. Self-impression: This is the belief about one’s self. Such beliefs include everything from the body looks, shape, and figure to skills, intelligence, and abilities. It is a way a person sees themselves.
  2. Social impression: It is the belief about other people. We have different impressions about some specific people. These people include family members, friends, or someone we know through social media.
  3. Social theory: Social theory is the belief about how the world works. It includes beliefs about the way some groups of people think, interact and behave. The social theory also encompasses ethnic disparity, stereotypes, racial differences, gender roles, etc.
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How to counter belief bias and belief perseverance

So far, we have decisions to make; we may be guilty of them anytime. If not eradicated, they can be reduced. What are the ways to counter them?

One of the ways to do that is flexibility in argument, judgment, and decision-making. The rigidity can cause belief bias and belief perseverance. Flexibility is characterized by the readiness to change and adapt to new or different requirements. Another thing is to be open to change. Be willing to learn new things and comprehend new ideas.

In addition, don’t be stuck in the past. Try as much as possible not to be influenced by past experience. Ask for people’s opinions if you feel you are biased in your belief or belief persevere.  Ask a trusted friend for a different point of view other than what you already know.

Finally, belief bias and belief perseverance can help you attain confidence about what you know or what your value stands for. In some cases, it can block you from making the right decisions. Try and question things, gather information about something before making a judgment or drawing a conclusion.

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