Confirmation Bias Defined: Once a decision is made, we over-weight new data that confirms our opinion/decision and under-weight new data that disconfirms our opinion/decision. We selectively filter information to which we pay attention or give value. We embrace information that supports our opinion and reject information that undermines our opinion.
Why? Nobody likes to be wrong. No matter your position, with over 3 billion Web pages, you can always find support.
Problem: By engaging in confirmation bias and discrediting information that contradicts your viewpoint, you may fail to provide meaningful guidance to your client insofar as assessing a mediation settlement offer or demand.
Confirmation Bias at Work: In the face of a legitimate challenge, purported certainty that a judge will grant/deny a motion in limine, the appellate court will overturn the MSJ ruling or a key witness will or will not be believed.
Tips to Avoid Confirmation Bias: (1) Leave your ego at the door. Abandon the need to be right; (2) Ask colleagues “why am I wrong” so as to avoid having only people who agree with you speak up; (3) Ask for meaningful feedback – ask “how could I analyze this better?” and NOT “is my analysis correct?”
Revisit: Ask yourself, “in light of this new information, should my opinion/decision be adjusted?”
Reevaluate: Ask if you are exhibiting confirmation bias and whether your demand or offer should be adjusted to incorporate new information that is learned in mediation?