BRAIN: Using your BRAIN to evaluate information

Media Bias

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What is bias?

Bias: the position or slant toward which an author shapes information.

Confirmation bias: the tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one's existing beliefs or theories.

Filter bubble: A filter bubble is the intellectual isolation that can occur when websites make use of algorithms to selectively assume the information a user would want to see, and then give information to the user according to this assumption. Personalized search results from Google and personalized news stream from Facebook are two perfect examples of this phenomenon. 

 

The brain needs to sort ­everything—the food we eat, the furniture we use, whatever. We also sort people. That sorting can lead to bias; once we have categories, we have beliefs and feelings about what’s in those categories.  Jennifer Eberhardt, MacArthur Foundation "Genius" and author of Biased (2019). 

Practical tips for evaluating bias

Tips for evaluating bias:

  • Does the article lean toward a point of view (skew left or right?)

  • Does the article represent the viewpoint of an organization or agency?

  • Check your own bias.  It's important to find information from all different points of view, even if you disagree with it.

  • Read outside the bubble.

  • Is the language of the article extreme? Do the statements have all or nothing connotations?

  • Does the argument appeal more to the emotions than to logic?

  • Are things worded with the intent to oversimplify or over generalize?

  • Does the author present alternate points of view? If so, are those views presented objectively?

Confirmation Bias

Bias: Recognizing Online Propaganda, Bias and Advertising