Farnam Street stashed this in Interesting
In Paul Tough’s book, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character, he tells the story of an English psychologist Peter Cathcart Wason, who came up with an “ingenious experiment to demonstrate our natural tendency to confirm rather than disprove our own ideas.”
Sir Karl Popper wrote that the nature of scientific thought is that we could never be sure of anything. The only way to test the validity of any theory was to prove it wrong, a process he labelled falsification. And it turns out we’re quite bad at falsification. When it comes to testing a theory we don’t instinctively try to find evidence we’re wrong. It’s much easier and more mentally satisfying to find information that proves our intuition. This is known as the confirmation bias.