Bias

Bias is disproportionate weight in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair.

Biases can be learned by watching cultural contexts. People may develop biases toward or against an individual, an ethnic group, a sexual or gender identity, a nation, a religion, a social class, a political party, theoretical paradigms and ideologies within academic domains, or a species.[1] Biased means one-sided, lacking a neutral viewpoint, or not having an open mind. Bias can come in many forms and is related to prejudice and intuition.[2]

In science and engineering, a bias is a systematic error. Statistical bias results from an unfair sampling of a population, or from an estimation process that does not give accurate results on average.

Man In The Moon2
Interpretations of the random patterns of craters on the moon. A common example of a perceptual bias caused by pareidolia.

Etymology

The word probably derives from Old Provençal into Old French biais, "sideways, askance, against the grain". Whence comes French biais, "a slant, a slope, an oblique".[3]

It seems to have entered English via the game of bowls, where it referred to balls made with a greater weight on one side. Which expanded to the figurative use, "a one-sided tendency of the mind", and, at first especially in law, "undue propensity or prejudice".[3]

Types of bias

Cognitive biases

A cognitive bias is a repeating or basic misstep in thinking, assessing, recollecting, or other cognitive processes.[4] That is, a pattern of deviation from standards in judgment, whereby inferences may be created unreasonably.[5] People create their own "subjective social reality" from their own perceptions,[6] their view of the world may dictate their behaviour.[7] Thus, cognitive biases may sometimes lead to perceptual distortion, inaccurate judgment, illogical interpretation, or what is broadly called irrationality.[8][9][10] However some cognitive biases are taken to be adaptive, and thus may lead to success in the appropriate situation.[11] Furthermore, cognitive biases may allow speedier choices when speed is more valuable than precision.[12] Other cognitive biases are a "by-product" of human processing limitations,[13] coming about because of an absence of appropriate mental mechanisms, or just from human limitations in information processing.[14]

Anchoring

Anchoring is a psychological heuristic that describes the propensity to rely on the first piece of information encountered when making decisions.[15][16] According to this heuristic, individuals begin with an implicitly suggested reference point (the "anchor") and make adjustments to it to reach their estimate. For example, the initial price offered for a used car sets the standard for the rest of the negotiations, so that prices lower than the initial price seem more reasonable even if they are still higher than what the car is worth.[17][18]

Apophenia

Apophenia, also known as patternicity,[19][20] or agenticity,[21] is the human tendency to perceive meaningful patterns within random data. Apophenia is well documented as a rationalization for gambling. Gamblers may imagine that they see patterns in the numbers which appear in lotteries, card games, or roulette wheels.[22] One manifestation of this is known as the "gambler's fallacy".

Pareidolia is the visual or auditory form of apophenia. It has been suggested that pareidolia combined with hierophany may have helped ancient societies organize chaos and make the world intelligible.[23][24]

Attribution bias

An attribution bias can happen when individuals assess or attempt to discover explanations behind their own and others' behaviors.[25][26][27] People make attributions about the causes of their own and others' behaviors; but these attributions don't necessarily precisely reflect reality. Rather than operating as objective perceivers, individuals are inclined to perceptual slips that prompt biased understandings of their social world.[28][29] When judging others we tend to assume their actions are the result of internal factors such as personality, whereas we tend to assume our own actions arise because of the necessity of external circumstances. There are a wide range of sorts of attribution biases, such as the ultimate attribution error, fundamental attribution error, actor-observer bias, and self-serving bias.

Confirmation bias

Fred Barnard07
Confirmation bias has been described as an internal "yes man", echoing back a person's beliefs like Charles Dickens' character Uriah Heep.[30]

Confirmation bias is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one's beliefs or hypotheses while giving disproportionately less attention to information that contradicts it.[31] The effect is stronger for emotionally charged issues and for deeply entrenched beliefs. People also tend to interpret ambiguous evidence as supporting their existing position. Biased search, interpretation and memory have been invoked to explain attitude polarization (when a disagreement becomes more extreme even though the different parties are exposed to the same evidence), belief perseverance (when beliefs persist after the evidence for them is shown to be false), the irrational primacy effect (a greater reliance on information encountered early in a series) and illusory correlation (when people falsely perceive an association between two events or situations). Confirmation biases contribute to overconfidence in personal beliefs and can maintain or strengthen beliefs in the face of contrary evidence. Poor decisions due to these biases have been found in political and organizational contexts.[32][33]

Framing

Framing involves the social construction of social phenomena by mass media sources, political or social movements, political leaders, and so on. It is an influence over how people organize, perceive, and communicate about reality.[34] It can be positive or negative, depending on the audience and what kind of information is being presented. For political purposes, framing often presents facts in such a way that implicates a problem that is in need of a solution. Members of political parties attempt to frame issues in a way that makes a solution favoring their own political leaning appear as the most appropriate course of action for the situation at hand.[35] As understood in social theory, framing is a schema of interpretation, a collection of anecdotes and stereotypes, that individuals rely on to understand and respond to events.[36] People use filters to make sense of the world, the choices they then make are influenced by their creation of a frame.

Cultural bias is the related phenomenon of interpreting and judging phenomena by standards inherent to one's own culture. Numerous such biases exist, concerning cultural norms for color, location of body parts, mate selection, concepts of justice, linguistic and logical validity, acceptability of evidence, and taboos. Ordinary people may tend to imagine other people as basically the same, not significantly more or less valuable, probably attached emotionally to different groups and different land.

Halo effect and horn effect

The halo effect and the horn effect are when an observer's overall impression of a person, organization, brand, or product influences their feelings about specifics of that entity's character or properties.[37][38][39]

The name halo effect is based on the concept of the saint's halo, and is a specific type of confirmation bias, wherein positive sentiments in one area cause questionable or unknown characteristics to be seen positively. If the observer likes one aspect of something, they will have a positive predisposition toward everything about it.[40][41][42][43] A person's appearance has been found to produce a halo effect.[44] The halo effect is also present in the field of brand marketing, affecting perception of companies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).[45][46][47][48][49][50][51]

The opposite of the halo is the horn effect, when "individuals believe (that negative) traits are inter-connected."[52] The term horn effect refers to Devil's horns. It works in a negative direction: if the observer dislikes one aspect of something, they will have a negative predisposition towards other aspects.[53]

Both of these bias effects often clash with phrases such as "words mean something"[54][55] and "Your words have a history."[56]

Self-serving bias

Self-serving bias is the tendency for cognitive or perceptual processes to be distorted by the individual's need to maintain and enhance self-esteem.[57] It is the propensity to credit accomplishment to our own capacities and endeavors, yet attribute failure to outside factors,[58] to dismiss the legitimacy of negative criticism, concentrate on positive qualities and accomplishments yet disregard flaws and failures. Studies have demonstrated that this bias can affect behavior in the workplace,[59] in interpersonal relationships,[60] playing sports,[61] and in consumer decisions.[62]

Status quo bias

Status quo bias is an emotional bias; a preference for the current state of affairs. The current baseline (or status quo) is taken as a reference point, and any change from that baseline is perceived as a loss. Status quo bias should be distinguished from a rational preference for the status quo ante, as when the current state of affairs is objectively superior to the available alternatives, or when imperfect information is a significant problem. A large body of evidence, however, shows that status quo bias frequently affects human decision-making.[63]

Conflicts of interest

A conflict of interest is when a person or association has intersecting interests (financial, personal, etc.) which could potentially corrupt. The potential conflict is autonomous of actual improper actions, it can be found and intentionally defused before corruption, or the appearance of corruption, happens. "A conflict of interest is a set of circumstances that creates a risk that professional judgement or actions regarding a primary interest will be unduly influenced by a secondary interest."[64] It exists if the circumstances are sensibly accepted to present a hazard that choices made may be unduly affected by auxiliary interests.[65]

Bribery

Bribery is the giving of money, goods or other forms of recompense to in order to influence the recipient's behavior.[66] Bribes can include money (including tips), goods, rights in action, property, privilege, emolument, gifts, perks, skimming, return favors, discounts, sweetheart deals, kickbacks, funding, donations, campaign contributions, sponsorships, stock options, secret commissions, or promotions.[67] Expectations of when a monetary transaction is appropriate can differ from place to place. Political campaign contributions in the form of cash are considered criminal acts of bribery in some countries, while in the United States they are legal provided they adhere to election law. Tipping, is considered bribery in some societies, but not others.

Favoritism

Favoritism, sometimes known as in-group favoritism, or in-group bias, refers to a pattern of favoring members of one's in-group over out-group members. This can be expressed in evaluation of others, in allocation of resources, and in many other ways.[68][69] This has been researched by psychologists, especially social psychologists, and linked to group conflict and prejudice. Cronyism is favoritism of long-standing friends, especially by appointing them to positions of authority, regardless of their qualifications.[70] Nepotism is favoritism granted to relatives.[71][72][73][74]

Lobbying

Tabakslobby
Box offered by tobacco lobbyists to Dutch Member of the European Parliament Kartika Liotard in September 2013

Lobbying is the attempt to influence choices made by administrators, frequently lawmakers or individuals from administrative agencies.[75][76][77] Lobbyists may be among a legislator's constituencies, or not; they may engage in lobbying as a business, or not. Lobbying is often spoken of with contempt, the implication is that people with inordinate socioeconomic power are corrupting the law in order to serve their own interests. When people who have a duty to act on behalf of others, such as elected officials with a duty to serve their constituents' interests or more broadly the common good, stand to benefit by shaping the law to serve the interests of some private parties, there is a conflict of interest. This can lead to all sides in a debate looking to sway the issue by means of lobbyists.

Regulatory issues

Self-regulation is the process whereby an organization monitors its own adherence to legal, ethical, or safety standards, rather than have an outside, independent agency such as a third party entity monitor and enforce those standards.[78] Self-regulation of any group can create a conflict of interest. If any organization, such as a corporation or government bureaucracy, is asked to eliminate unethical behavior within their own group, it may be in their interest in the short run to eliminate the appearance of unethical behavior, rather than the behavior itself.

Regulatory capture is a form of political corruption that can occur when a regulatory agency, created to act in the public interest, instead advances the commercial or political concerns of special interest groups that dominate the industry or sector it is charged with regulating.[79][80] Regulatory capture occurs because groups or individuals with a high-stakes interest in the outcome of policy or regulatory decisions can be expected to focus their resources and energies in attempting to gain the policy outcomes they prefer, while members of the public, each with only a tiny individual stake in the outcome, will ignore it altogether.[81] Regulatory capture is a risk to which a regulatory agency is exposed by its very nature.[82][83]

Shilling

Shilling is deliberately giving spectators the feeling that one is an energetic autonomous client of a vendor for whom one is working. The effectiveness of shilling relies on crowd psychology to encourage other onlookers or audience members to purchase the goods or services (or accept the ideas being marketed). Shilling is illegal in some places, but legal in others.[84] An example of shilling is paid reviews that give the impression of being autonomous opinions.

Statistical biases

Statistical bias is a systematic tendency in the process of data collection, which results in lopsided, misleading results. This can occur in any of a number of ways, in the way the sample is selected, or in the way data are collected.[85] It is a property of a statistical technique or of its results whereby the expected value of the results differs from the true underlying quantitative parameter being estimated.

Forecast bias

A forecast bias is when there are consistent differences between results and the forecasts of those quantities; that is: forecasts may have an overall tendency to be too high or too low.

Observer-expectancy effect

The observer-expectancy effect is when a researcher's expectations cause them to subconsciously influence the people participating in an experiment. It is usually controlled using a double-blind system, and was an important reason for the development of double-blind experiments.

Reporting bias & social desirability bias

In epidemiology and empirical research, reporting bias is defined as "selective revealing or suppression of information" of undesirable behavior by subjects[86] or researchers. [87][88] It refers to a tendency to under-report unexpected or undesirable experimental results, while being more trusting of expected or desirable results. This can propagate, as each instance reinforces the status quo, and later experimenters justify their own reporting bias by observing that previous experimenters reported different results.

Social desirability bias is a bias within social science research where survey respondents can tend to answer questions in a manner that will be viewed positively by others.[89] It can take the form of over-reporting laudable behavior, or under-reporting undesirable behavior. This bias interferes with the interpretation of average tendencies as well as individual differences. The inclination represents a major issue with self-report questionnaires; of special concern are self-reports of abilities, personalities, sexual behavior, and drug use.[89]

Selection bias

Simple random sampling
Sampling is supposed to collect of a representative sample of a population.

Selection bias is the, conscious or unconscious, bias introduced into a study by the way individuals, groups or data are selected for analysis, if such a way means that true randomization is not achieved, thereby ensuring that the sample obtained is not representative of the population intended to be analyzed.[90] Which results in a sample that may be significantly different from the overall population.

Prejudices

Bias and prejudice are usually considered to be closely related.[2] Prejudice is prejudgment, or forming an opinion before becoming aware of the relevant facts of a case. The word is often used to refer to preconceived, usually unfavorable, judgments toward people or a person because of gender, political opinion, social class, age, disability, religion, sexuality, race/ethnicity, language, nationality, or other personal characteristics. Prejudice can also refer to unfounded beliefs[91] and may include "any unreasonable attitude that is unusually resistant to rational influence".[92]

Classism

Classism is discrimination on the basis of social class. It includes attitudes that benefit the upper class at the expense of the lower class, or vice versa.[93]

Lookism

Lookism is stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination on the basis of physical attractiveness, or more generally to people whose appearance matches cultural preferences.[94][95][96] Many people make automatic judgments of others based on their physical appearance that influence how they respond to those people.[97][98]

Racism

Racism consists of ideologies based on a desire to dominate or a belief in the inferiority of another race.[99][100] It may also hold that members of different races should be treated differently.[101][102][103]

Sexism

Sexism is discrimination based on a person's sex or gender. Sexism can affect any gender, but it is particularly documented as affecting women and girls.[104] It has been linked to stereotypes and gender roles,[105][106] and may include the belief that one sex or gender is intrinsically superior to another.[107]

Contextual biases

Biases in academia

Academic bias

Academic bias is the bias or perceived bias of scholars allowing their beliefs to shape their research and the scientific community. Claims of bias are often linked to claims by conservatives of pervasive bias against political conservatives and religious Christians.[108] Some have argued that these claims are based upon anecdotal evidence which would not reliably indicate systematic bias,[109][110][111] and have suggested that this divide is due to self-selection of conservatives choosing not to pursue academic careers.[109][112] There is some evidence that perception of classroom bias may be rooted in issues of sexuality, race, class and sex as much or more than in religion.[113][114]

Experimenter bias

In science research, experimenter bias occurs when experimenter expectancies regarding study results bias the research outcome.[115] Examples of experimenter bias include conscious or unconscious influences on subject behavior including creation of demand characteristics that influence subjects, and altered or selective recording of experimental results themselves.[116]

Funding bias

Funding bias refers to the tendency of a scientific study to support the interests of the study's financial sponsor. This phenomenon is recognized sufficiently that researchers undertake studies to examine bias in past published studies.[117] It can be caused by any or all of: a conscious or subconscious sense of obligation of researchers towards their employers,[118] misconduct or malpractice,[119] publication bias,[119][120][121][122] or reporting bias.[123]

Full text on net bias

Full text on net (or FUTON) bias is a tendency of scholars to cite academic journals with open access—that is, journals that make their full text available on the internet without charge—in their own writing as compared with toll access publications. Scholars can more easily discover and access articles that have their full text on the internet, which increases authors' likelihood of reading, quoting, and citing these articles, this may increase the impact factor of open access journals relative to journals without open access.[124][125][126][127][128][129]

The related bias, no abstract available bias (NAA bias) is scholars' tendency to cite journal articles that have an abstract available online more readily than articles that do not.[124][129]

Publication bias

Publication bias is a type of bias with regard to what academic research is likely to be published because of a tendency of researchers, and journal editors, to prefer some outcomes rather than others e.g. results showing a significant finding, leads to a problematic bias in the published literature.[130] This can propagate further as literature reviews of claims about support for a hypothesis will themselves be biased if the original literature is contaminated by publication bias.[131] Studies with significant results often do not appear to be superior to studies with a null result with respect to quality of design.[132] However, statistically significant results have been shown to be three times more likely to be published compared to papers with null results.[133]

Biases in law enforcement

Driving while black

Driving while black refers to the racial profiling of African American drivers. The phrase implies that a motorist might be pulled over by a police officer, questioned, and searched, because of a racial bias.[134][135]

Racial profiling

Racial profiling, or ethnic profiling, is the act of suspecting or targeting a person of a certain race on the basis of racially observed characteristics or behavior, rather than on individual suspicion.[136][137] Racial profiling is commonly referred to regarding its use by law enforcement, and its leading to discrimination against minorities.

Victim blaming

Victim blaming occurs when the victim of a wrongful act is held at fault for the harm that befell them.[138] The study of victimology seeks to mitigate the perception of victims as responsible.[139]

Biases in media

Media bias is the bias or perceived bias of journalists and news producers within the mass media in the selection of events, the stories that are reported, and how they are covered. The term generally implies a pervasive or widespread bias violating the standards of journalism, rather than the perspective of an individual journalist or article.[140] The level of media bias in different nations is debated. There are also watchdog groups that report on media bias.

Practical limitations to media neutrality include the inability of journalists to report all available stories and facts, the requirement that selected facts be linked into a coherent narrative, government influence including overt and covert censorship,[141] the influence of the owners of the news source, concentration of media ownership, the selection of staff, the preferences of an intended audience, and pressure from advertisers.

Bias has been a feature of the mass media since its birth with the invention of the printing press. The expense of early printing equipment restricted media production to a limited number of people. Historians have found that publishers often served the interests of powerful social groups.[142]

Agenda setting

Agenda setting describes the capacity of the media to focus on particular stories, if a news item is covered frequently and prominently, the audience will regard the issue as more important. That is, its salience will increase.[143]

Gatekeeping

Gatekeeping is the way in which information and news are filtered to the public, by each person or corporation along the way. It is the "process of culling and crafting countless bits of information into the limited number of messages that reach people every day, and it is the center of the media's role in modern public life. [...] This process determines not only which information is selected, but also what the content and nature of the messages, such as news, will be."[144]

Sensationalism

Sensationalism is when events and topics in news stories and pieces are overhyped to present skewed impressions of events, which may cause a misrepresentation of the truth of a story.[145] Sensationalism may involve reporting about insignificant matters and events, or the presentation of newsworthy topics in a trivial or tabloid manner contrary to the standards of professional journalism.[146][147]

Other contexts

Educational bias

Bias in education refers to real or perceived bias in the educational system. The content of school textbooks is often the issue of debate, as their target audience is young people, and the term "whitewashing" is used to refer to selective removal of critical or damaging evidence or comment.[148][149][150] Religious bias in textbooks is observed in countries where religion plays a dominant role. There can be many forms of educational bias. Some overlooked aspects, occurring especially with the pedagogical circles of public and private schools—sources that are unrelated to fiduciary or mercantile impoverishment which may be unduly magnified—include teacher bias as well as a general bias against women who are going into STEM research.[151][152]

Inductive bias

Inductive bias occurs within the field of machine learning. In machine learning one seeks to develop algorithms that are able to learn to anticipate a particular output. To accomplish this, the learning algorithm is given training cases that show the expected connection. Then the learner is tested with new examples. Without further assumptions, this problem cannot be solved exactly as unknown situations may not be predictable.[153][154] The inductive bias of the learning algorithm is the set of assumptions that the learner uses to predict outputs given inputs that it has not encountered.[153] It may bias the learner towards the correct solution, the incorrect, or be correct some of the time. A classical example of an inductive bias is Occam's Razor, which assumes that the simplest consistent hypothesis is the best.

Insider trading

Insider trading is the trading of a public company's stock or other securities (such as bonds or stock options) by individuals with access to non-public information about the company. In various countries, trading based on insider information is illegal because it is seen as unfair to other investors who do not have access to the information as the investor with insider information could potentially make far larger profits that a typical investor could not make.

Match fixing

In organized sports, match fixing occurs when a match is played to a completely or partially pre-determined result, violating the rules of the game and often the law.[155] There is a variety of reasons for this, but the most common is in exchange for a payoff from gamblers. Players might also intentionally perform poorly to get an advantage in the future (such as a better draft pick, or an easier opponent in a playoff), or to rig a handicap system. Match-fixing generally refers to fixing the final result of the game. Another form of match-fixing, known as spot-fixing, involves fixing small events within a match which can be gambled upon, but which are unlikely to prove decisive in determining the final result of the game.

See also

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External links

Bias of an estimator

In statistics, the bias (or bias function) of an estimator is the difference between this estimator's expected value and the true value of the parameter being estimated. An estimator or decision rule with zero bias is called unbiased. Otherwise the estimator is said to be biased. In statistics, "bias" is an objective property of an estimator, and while not a desired property, it is not pejorative, unlike the ordinary English use of the term "bias".

Bias can also be measured with respect to the median, rather than the mean (expected value), in which case one distinguishes median-unbiased from the usual mean-unbiasedness property. Bias is related to consistency in that consistent estimators are convergent and asymptotically unbiased (hence converge to the correct value as the number of data points grows arbitrarily large), though individual estimators in a consistent sequence may be biased (so long as the bias converges to zero); see bias versus consistency.

All else being equal, an unbiased estimator is preferable to a biased estimator, but in practice all else is not equal, and biased estimators are frequently used, generally with small bias. When a biased estimator is used, bounds of the bias are calculated. A biased estimator may be used for various reasons: because an unbiased estimator does not exist without further assumptions about a population or is difficult to compute (as in unbiased estimation of standard deviation); because an estimator is median-unbiased but not mean-unbiased (or the reverse); because a biased estimator gives a lower value of some loss function (particularly mean squared error) compared with unbiased estimators (notably in shrinkage estimators); or because in some cases being unbiased is too strong a condition, and the only unbiased estimators are not useful. Further, mean-unbiasedness is not preserved under non-linear transformations, though median-unbiasedness is (see § Effect of transformations); for example, the sample variance is an unbiased estimator for the population variance, but its square root, the sample standard deviation, is a biased estimator for the population standard deviation. These are all illustrated below.

CBC News

CBC News is the division of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation responsible for the news gathering and production of news programs on the corporation's English-language operations, namely CBC Television, CBC Radio, CBC News Network, and CBC.ca. Founded in 1941, CBC News is the largest news broadcaster in Canada and has local, regional and national broadcasts and stations. It frequently collaborates with its French-language counterpart, Radio-Canada Info, although the two are organizationally separate.

The CBC follows the Journalistic Standards and Practices which provides the policy framework within which CBC journalism seeks to meet the expectations and obligations it faces from the public.

Cognitive bias

A cognitive bias is a systematic pattern of deviation from norm or rationality in judgment. Individuals create their own "subjective social reality" from their perception of the input. An individual's construction of social reality, not the objective input, may dictate their behaviour in the social world. Thus, cognitive biases may sometimes lead to perceptual distortion, inaccurate judgment, illogical interpretation, or what is broadly called irrationality.Some cognitive biases are presumably adaptive. Cognitive biases may lead to more effective actions in a given context. Furthermore, allowing cognitive biases enable faster decisions which can be desirable when timeliness is more valuable than accuracy, as illustrated in heuristics. Other cognitive biases are a "by-product" of human processing limitations, resulting from a lack of appropriate mental mechanisms (bounded rationality), or simply from a limited capacity for information processing.A continually evolving list of cognitive biases has been identified over the last six decades of research on human judgment and decision-making in cognitive science, social psychology, and behavioral economics. Kahneman and Tversky (1996) argue that cognitive biases have efficient practical implications for areas including clinical judgment, entrepreneurship, finance, and management.

Confirmation bias

Confirmation bias, also called confirmatory bias or myside bias, is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one's preexisting beliefs or hypotheses. It is a type of cognitive bias and a systematic error of inductive reasoning. People display this bias when they gather or remember information selectively, or when they interpret it in a biased way. The effect is stronger for emotionally charged issues and for deeply entrenched beliefs. Confirmation bias is a variation of the more general tendency of apophenia.

People also tend to interpret ambiguous evidence as supporting their existing position. Biased search, interpretation and memory have been invoked to explain attitude polarization (when a disagreement becomes more extreme even though the different parties are exposed to the same evidence), belief perseverance (when beliefs persist after the evidence for them is shown to be false), the irrational primacy effect (a greater reliance on information encountered early in a series) and illusory correlation (when people falsely perceive an association between two events or situations).

A series of psychological experiments in the 1960s suggested that people are biased toward confirming their existing beliefs. Later work re-interpreted these results as a tendency to test ideas in a one-sided way, focusing on one possibility and ignoring alternatives. In certain situations, this tendency can bias people's conclusions. Explanations for the observed biases include wishful thinking and the limited human capacity to process information. Another explanation is that people show confirmation bias because they are weighing up the costs of being wrong, rather than investigating in a neutral, scientific way. However, even scientists can be prone to confirmation bias.Confirmation biases contribute to overconfidence in personal beliefs and can maintain or strengthen beliefs in the face of contrary evidence. Poor decisions due to these biases have been found in political and organizational contexts.

Dunning–Kruger effect

In the field of psychology, the Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which people of low ability have illusory superiority and mistakenly assess their cognitive ability as greater than it is. The cognitive bias of illusory superiority comes from the inability of low-ability people to recognize their lack of ability. Without the self-awareness of metacognition, low-ability people cannot objectively evaluate their competence or incompetence.As described by social psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger, the cognitive bias of illusory superiority results from an internal illusion in people of low ability and from an external misperception in people of high ability; that is, "the miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others."

Gender bias on Wikipedia

Gender bias on Wikipedia reflects the fact that a dominant majority of volunteer Wikipedia editors, particularly on the English-language site, are male. This has led to Wikipedia having fewer and less extensive articles about women or topics important to women.

It figures among the most frequent criticisms of Wikipedia, and part of a more general criticism about systemic bias in Wikipedia. The Wikimedia Foundation, which runs Wikipedia, agrees with these criticisms and has made an ongoing attempt to increase female editorship of Wikipedia. Edit-a-thons have been held to encourage female editors and increase the coverage of women's topics.

Hate crime

A hate crime (also known as a bias-motivated crime or bias crime) is a prejudice-motivated crime which occurs when a perpetrator targets a victim because of his or her membership (or perceived membership) in a certain social group or race.

Examples of such groups can include and are almost exclusively limited to: sex, ethnicity, disability, language, nationality, physical appearance, religion, gender identity or sexual orientation. Non-criminal actions that are motivated by these reasons are often called "bias incidents".

"Hate crime" generally refers to criminal acts which are seen to have been motivated by bias against one or more of the social groups listed above, or by bias against their derivatives. Incidents may involve physical assault, damage to property, bullying, harassment, verbal abuse or insults, mate crime or offensive graffiti or letters (hate mail).A hate crime law is a law intended to deter bias-motivated violence. Hate crime laws are distinct from laws against hate speech: hate crime laws enhance the penalties associated with conduct which is already criminal under other laws, while hate speech laws criminalize a category of speech. Hate speech laws exist in many countries. In the United States, hate crime laws have been upheld by both the Supreme Court and lower courts, especially in the case of 'fighting' words and other violent speech, but they are thought by some people to be in conflict with the First Amendment right to freedom of speech, but hate crimes are only regulated through threats of injury or death.

In-group favoritism

In-group favoritism, sometimes known as in-group–out-group bias, in-group bias, or intergroup bias, is a pattern of favoring members of one's in-group over out-group members. This can be expressed in evaluation of others, in allocation of resources, and in many other ways.This effect has been researched by many psychologists and linked to many theories related to group conflict and prejudice. The phenomenon is primarily viewed from a social psychology standpoint. Studies have shown that in-group favoritism arises as a result of the formation of cultural groups. These cultural groups can be divided based on seemingly trivial observable traits, but with time, populations grow to associate certain traits with certain behaviour, increasing covariation. This then incentivises in-group bias.

Two prominent theoretical approaches to the phenomenon of in-group favoritism are realistic conflict theory and social identity theory. Realistic conflict theory proposes that intergroup competition, and sometimes intergroup conflict, arises when two groups have opposing claims to scarce resources. In contrast, social identity theory posits a psychological drive for positively distinct social identities as the general root cause of in-group favoring behavior.

Len Bias

Leonard Kevin Bias (November 18, 1963 – June 19, 1986) was a first-team All-American college basketball forward at the University of Maryland. He was selected by the Boston Celtics as the second overall pick in the 1986 NBA draft on June 17, and died two days later from cardiac arrhythmia induced by a cocaine overdose. He is considered by some sportswriters to be the greatest player not to play at the professional level.

List of cognitive biases

Cognitive biases are systematic patterns of deviation from norm or rationality in judgment, and are often studied in psychology and behavioral economics.Although the reality of these biases is confirmed by replicable research, there are often controversies about how to classify these biases or how to explain them. Some are effects of information-processing rules (i.e., mental shortcuts), called heuristics, that the brain uses to produce decisions or judgments. Biases have a variety of forms and appear as cognitive ("cold") bias, such as mental noise, or motivational ("hot") bias, such as when beliefs are distorted by wishful thinking. Both effects can be present at the same time.There are also controversies over some of these biases as to whether they count as useless or irrational, or whether they result in useful attitudes or behavior. For example, when getting to know others, people tend to ask leading questions which seem biased towards confirming their assumptions about the person. However, this kind of confirmation bias has also been argued to be an example of social skill: a way to establish a connection with the other person.Although this research overwhelmingly involves human subjects, some findings that demonstrate bias have been found in non-human animals as well. For example, hyperbolic discounting has been observed in rats, pigeons, and monkeys.

Media bias

Media bias is the bias or perceived bias of journalists and news producers within the mass media in the selection of events and stories that are reported and how they are covered. The term "media bias" implies a pervasive or widespread bias contravening the standards of journalism, rather than the perspective of an individual journalist or article. The direction and degree of media bias in various countries is widely disputed.

Practical limitations to media neutrality include the inability of journalists to report all available stories and facts, and the requirement that selected facts be linked into a coherent narrative. Government influence, including overt and covert censorship, biases the media in some countries, for example China, North Korea and Myanmar. Market forces that result in a biased presentation include the ownership of the news source, concentration of media ownership, the selection of staff, the preferences of an intended audience, and pressure from advertisers.

There are a number of national and international watchdog groups that report on bias in the media.

Media bias in the United States

Media bias in the United States occurs when the US media systematically skews reporting in a way that crosses standards of professional journalism. Claims of media bias in the United States include claims of conservative bias, corporate bias, liberal bias, and mainstream bias. A variety of watchdog groups combat this by fact-checking both biased reporting and unfounded claims of bias, and some characterise individual news outlets by perceived bias. A variety of scholarly disciplines study media bias. Many news outlets make no pretense of being unbiased, and give their readers or listeners the news they want, leading to what has been called post truth politics.

Observation

Observation is the active acquisition of information from a primary source. In living beings, observation employs the senses. In science, observation can also involve the recording of data via the use of scientific instruments. The term may also refer to any data collected during the scientific activity. Observations can be qualitative, that is, only the absence or presence of a property is noted, or quantitative if a numerical value is attached to the observed phenomenon by counting or measuring.

Political correctness

The term political correctness (adjectivally: politically correct; commonly abbreviated PC) is used to describe language, policies, or measures that are intended to avoid offense or disadvantage to members of particular groups in society. Since the late 1980s, the term has come to refer to avoiding language or behavior that can be seen as excluding, marginalizing, or insulting groups of people considered disadvantaged or discriminated against, especially groups defined by sex or race. In public discourse and the media, it is generally used as a pejorative, implying that these policies are excessive or unwarranted.While earlier usage of the term referred to the strict adherence to political orthodoxy, the contemporary pejorative usage of the term emerged from conservative criticism of the New Left in the late 20th century. This usage was popularized by a number of articles in The New York Times and other media throughout the 1990s, and was widely used in the debate about Allan Bloom's 1987 book The Closing of the American Mind, and gained further currency in response to Roger Kimball's Tenured Radicals (1990), and conservative author Dinesh D'Souza's 1991 book Illiberal Education, in which he condemned what he saw as liberal efforts to advance self-victimization and multiculturalism through language, affirmative action, and changes to the content of school and university curricula.Commentators on the political left contend that conservatives use the concept of political correctness to downplay and divert attention from substantively discriminatory behavior against disadvantaged groups. They also argue that the political right enforces its own forms of political correctness to suppress criticism of its favored constituencies and ideologies. In the United States the term has played a major role in the 'culture war' between liberals and conservatives.

Sampling bias

In statistics, sampling bias is a bias in which a sample is collected in such a way that some members of the intended population are less likely to be included than others. It results in a biased sample, a non-random sample of a population (or non-human factors) in which all individuals, or instances, were not equally likely to have been selected. If this is not accounted for, results can be erroneously attributed to the phenomenon under study rather than to the method of sampling.

Medical sources sometimes refer to sampling bias as ascertainment bias. Ascertainment bias has basically the same definition, but is still sometimes classified as a separate type of bias.

Selection bias

Selection bias is the bias introduced by the selection of individuals, groups or data for analysis in such a way that proper randomization is not achieved, thereby ensuring that the sample obtained is not representative of the population intended to be analyzed. It is sometimes referred to as the selection effect. The phrase "selection bias" most often refers to the distortion of a statistical analysis, resulting from the method of collecting samples. If the selection bias is not taken into account, then some conclusions of the study may not be accurate.

Systemic bias

Systemic bias, also called institutional bias, is the inherent tendency of a process to support particular outcomes. The term generally refers to human systems such as institutions; the equivalent bias in non-human systems (such as measurement instruments or mathematical models used to estimate physical quantities) is often called systematic bias, and leads to systematic error in measurements or estimates. The issues of systemic bias are dealt with extensively in the field of industrial organization economics.

Web search engine

A web search engine or Internet search engine is a software system that is designed to carry out web search (Internet search), which means to search the World Wide Web in a systematic way for particular information specified in a web search query. The search results are generally presented in a line of results, often referred to as search engine results pages (SERPs). The information may be a mix of web pages, images, videos, infographics, articles, research papers and other types of files. Some search engines also mine data available in databases or open directories. Unlike web directories, which are maintained only by human editors, search engines also maintain real-time information by running an algorithm on a web crawler.

Internet content that is not capable of being searched by a web search engine is generally described as the deep web.

Wikipedia

Wikipedia ( (listen), (listen) WIK-ih-PEE-dee-ə) is a multilingual, web-based, free encyclopedia based on a model of openly editable and viewable content, a wiki. It is the largest and most popular general reference work on the World Wide Web, and is one of the most popular websites by Alexa rank. It is owned and supported by the Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit organization that operates on money it receives from donors.Wikipedia was launched on January 15, 2001, by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger. Sanger coined its name, as a portmanteau of wiki and "encyclopedia". Initially an English-language encyclopedia, versions in other languages were quickly developed. With 5,809,887 articles, the English Wikipedia is the largest of the more than 290 Wikipedia encyclopedias. Overall, Wikipedia comprises more than 40 million articles in 301 different languages and by February 2014 it had reached 18 billion page views and nearly 500 million unique visitors per month.In 2005, Nature published a peer review comparing 42 science articles from Encyclopædia Britannica and Wikipedia and found that Wikipedia's level of accuracy approached that of Britannica. Time magazine stated that the open-door policy of allowing anyone to edit had made Wikipedia the biggest and possibly the best encyclopedia in the world, and was a testament to the vision of Jimmy Wales.Wikipedia has been criticized for exhibiting systemic bias, for presenting a mixture of "truths, half truths, and some falsehoods", and for being subject to manipulation and spin in controversial topics. In 2017, Facebook announced that it would help readers detect fake news by suitable links to Wikipedia articles. YouTube announced a similar plan in 2018.

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