Tag Archives: Black Swans

Why we have been mistaken about our theories…

Recently I came across this term ‘Confirmation Bias’ in the book, The Art of Thinking Clearly, by Rolf Dobelli. In this book, the author describes the confirmation bias as ‘the mother of all misconceptions. It is the tendency to interpret new information so that it becomes compatible with our existing theories, beliefs and convictions.’

The author gives an example of how an executive team enthusiastically agree that their new-found strategy is definitely a success and simply dismiss any other indications as ‘special cases’ or just exceptions.

Similarly, a new video by Veritasium shows our tendency to utilize this confirmation bias.

In this video, he explores how people get to the simple rule that connects the number pattern 2,4,8… He also makes his point using the term ‘Black Swan’. Since we usually associate swans with the color, White, every instance of a white swan makes you think the theory is proven. But, in fact, there are really black swans!

And I really feel strongly when he says that “If you think something is true, you should try really hard to disprove it.” Only then, we can think that the theory is really getting at something. We should really follow this in our life to avoid the confirmation bias.

Thanks for reading.