For a balanced assessment of the information

Por una evaluación equilibrada de la informaciónThe evaluation of information is the natural complement to the search of information. The manner in which we conduct such an evaluation can affect the way in which we assimilate, and the availability of it to generate true knowledge. In this post, we will talk about a factor that may affect this evaluation operation: the reasoning motivated.

In a previous post, I made reference to the known as confirmation bias, i.e. the tendency to favour information that confirms our beliefs, while avoiding information that (potentially) could refute them.

The confirmation bias has a other side complementary, the so-called reasoning motivated (motivated reasoning), which is the tendency to judge in a more critical information that is not consistent with our beliefs that that that does.

As we see, both the confirmation bias as the reasoning motivated seem to have a common basis: they are two processes in which the emotions have a great influence, and whose purpose seems to be to reduce the cognitive dissonance (that is, the discomfort we feel at the prospect of maintaining beliefs contradictory).

The reasoning motivated is another expression of the economy with the working of our cognitive system. Given their limited capacity to process information, our brain integrates outside information into our system of beliefs pre-existing. This is often an unconscious process, so that its operation, and its principles often pass us unnoticed.

The reasoning motivated, like the confirmation bias, has a constant influence on our relationship with the world and with others, manifesting itself in different areas: the one that is often cited with the greatest frequency is that of the policy, to the apparent impossibility of reaching agreements to rational issues where the ideology is very marked.

Another area where it works the reasoning motivated is in the assessment information: people present a very strong tendency to evaluate the most negative information that come from certain media than others, or that present alternative arguments to our own.

This is not to say that we are not good reasons to evaluate in a negative way such information. What it does mean is that we should make an extra effort to clarify the extent to which our assessment is the product of reasoning, motivated or of a balanced judgment of the information available. That is to say: the best antidote to the reasoning motivating it is the metacognition.

Thus, from the point of view of metacognition, some of the questions that we should ask when evaluating the information are:

Whatwe are aware of the reason why we do not agree with the information in question? Can you verbalize those reasons in a clear manner?

Whatwhat arguments we are using to support these reasons? Do you really are related to our motives, or are the product of cognitive dissonance?

Whatwe can correctly identify the arguments on which are based the information available? Whatwe are being balanced in our judgment of them? This is what we are respecting a few good principles on the argument?

Credits: Image of Ewa Walicka

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