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Confirmation bias in the utilization of others' opinion strength

Kappes, A. ORCID: 0000-0003-0867-6630, Harvey, A. H., Lohrenz, T., Montague, P. R. and Sharot, T. (2019). Confirmation bias in the utilization of others' opinion strength. Nature Neuroscience, 23(1), pp. 130-137. doi: 10.1038/s41593-019-0549-2

Abstract

Humans tend to discount information that undermines past choices and judgments. This confirmation bias has significant impact on domains ranging from politics to science and education. Little is known about the mechanisms underlying this fundamental characteristic of belief formation. Here we report a mechanism underlying the confirmation bias. Specifically, we provide evidence for a failure to use the strength of others' disconfirming opinions to alter confidence in judgments, but adequate use when opinions are confirmatory. This bias is related to reduced neural sensitivity to the strength of others' opinions in the posterior medial prefrontal cortex when opinions are disconfirming. Our results demonstrate that existing judgments alter the neural representation of information strength, leaving the individual less likely to alter opinions in the face of disagreement.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © The Author(s)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Arts & Social Sciences > Psychology
URI: https://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/23545
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