Confirmation Bias and Data Analysis

16 Sep

In the autumn addition of IT NOW, Adam Davison writes a very interesting article on Big Data. One point I particularly picked up on was the risk of confirmation bias when analysing data and Adam questioned what processes need to be in place to ensure this doesn’t happen. A little context, basically the confirmation bias is the human potential to look for information which confirms our beliefs, whilst explaining away anything which might contradict those beliefs.

The confirmation bias, or fixation, can be serious issue in data analysis and decision making; the dots simply don’t get joined or the discoveries made. A counter to it is not bias removal software or procedures but an increase in situational awareness that endures across time (fast and slow) and across scenarios. A focus on increased situational awareness will beat any process or procedure and greatly increase analytical rigour.

One Response to “Confirmation Bias and Data Analysis”


  1. Prediction, Tolstoy and New Technology | Echo Breaker Research & Analysis - March 27, 2014

    […] pulls at you to avoid the loss of that investment. The consequences of this is loss aversion ( resulting in the explaining away of contradictory data, fixating on the initial decision. So more […]

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