What is Confirmation Bias?

Confirmation bias is a tendency to consider information that confirms what you already believe and that doesn’t challenge it. The American Psychological Association defines it this way:  “the tendency to gather evidence that confirms preexisting expectations, typically by emphasizing or pursuing supporting evidence while dismissing or failing to seek contradictory evidence.” Numerous experimental studies in …

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What Is a Valid Argument?

Do you ever listen to someone’s argument and think that it makes sense, and all the ideas are connected, but you don’t know why? Well-crafted arguments need to have certain ingredients, and those ingredients in an argument make sense to us. Sometimes that “makes sense” feeling is a recognition that an argument is valid. The …

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Thinking Is a Skill

Thinking Is a skill

I had just turned 40, and for the very first time I heard the expression, “Thinking is a skill.”  I thought, “If thinking is a skill, then how come no one ever mentioned it to me?”  My parents never mentioned it. My high school never mentioned it. My college never mentioned it. My professional development …

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Circular Reasoning: We All Saw Our Parents Doing This

Circular reasoning

Did you ever have a conversation with your parents like this: Parent: “It’s time to go to bed.”Child: “Why?”Parent: “Because this is your bedtime.” At the time, you might have felt unsatisfied with their response, but you didn’t know how to argue against them. Knowledge is power, and in this case you were powerless to …

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What is an Argument: Definition, Format, and Examples

Argument

Do you ever feel like someone’s argument is wrong, but you can’t say exactly why? Maybe you don’t know how to formulate counter-arguments. Maybe you can’t tell the difference between a strong argument and a weak argument, or a bad argument and a good argument. But maybe the problem goes even deeper: maybe you’re not …

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Cognitive Biases and Fallacies: Definition, Examples & Differences

Bias to Fallacies

Suppose your plane crashed in the middle of nowhere with you and a dozen other survivors. You have three options: Everyone leaves the crash site to look for food and help. Half of the group leaves the crash site to look for food and help, while the other half stays put. Everyone stays at the …

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Fallacy: Definition, Examples and Formal vs Informal Fallacies

What is a fallacy?

Suppose I ask you to multiply two large numbers–say 12,653 and 65,321. How would you get the correct answer? You’d probably use a calculator or the good old multiplication algorithm you learned as a kid. One thing is clear: if you don’t use the correct method, then you’re not guaranteed to get the correct answer.  …

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