Readers React: Want to fight confirmation bias? Look in the mirror

To the editor: Perhaps it’s confirmation bias that makes people think that ex-Ferguson, Mo., police Officer Darren Wilson is guilty of murder, despite eyewitness testimony and the physical evidence supporting his claim of self-defense. (“‘Confirmation bias’ has long history of helping whites demonize blacks,” Op-Ed, Dec. 11)

Perhaps it’s confirmation bias that makes people assume that George Zimmerman is guilty of murder, when evidence supports his claim of self-defense.

Perhaps it’s confirmation bias that makes people think voters were outraged by Willie Horton’s blackness rather than his raping and stabbing people or his being furloughed from a prison where he was held for first-degree murder.

It seems confirmation bias is a two-way street.


David Hendershot, Fullerton


To the editor: I agree with Caryl Rivers regarding the strength of confirmation bias in keeping persons divided from others who are different because of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion and other identities. However, I have found that if one is willing to change, confirmation bias can be successfully overcome through the practice of dialogue, including empathic listening.

It is evident that the discriminatory and harassing behaviors that result from untreated confirmation bias, sometimes resulting in the death of another, are high priorities in our nation. I hope that people will choose to become involved in dialogue with others whom they may fear.


We desperately need to get beyond our divided state, which prevents us from valuing and accepting each other as human beings.

Karl Strandberg, Long Beach

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