Confirmation Bias – Hiding In Your Pocket of the Internet

The internet is an amazing tool that has allowed us unfathomable abilities and endless access to information. It is, in my opinion, the most influential invention in human history to date. However, with the good, comes the bad. For every amazing piece of information created, there are several pieces of fake information. Even these pieces are not all bad, example being TheOnion and their take on barefoot shoes. That site cracks me up with their fake news stories. Unfortunately, not everyone is smart enough to realize it is spoof news and they end up taking it as truth.

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The internet has connected all of us and introduced us to strangers that we may have never met in our lifetime without it. We are able to find like-minded people who share similar ideas and thoughts. That is comforting and helps us to feel validated. This can also lead to confirmation bias. Just by the way you word your google search, you can bias the information you receive. Example: Barefoot running. There is a myriad of search phrases you could use, but let’s go with simple ones. 1. “Why Barefoot Running is Bad for You“. 2. “Why Barefoot Running is Good for You“. You obviously can find a wealth of information on both views. I believe the issue isn’t that black and white and that there is a lot of grey in between. However, people like “being on a team” and aligning themselves with an idea.

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This isn’t a bad thing that topics are argued and supported on all sides of the topic via the internet. However, it can become an issue if you only look at your side and no others. With the internet, it’s very easy to craft an argument for only one side of the issue. People enter their little pocket of the internet, camp out there, and refuse to believe anything that contradicts their gospel. This can be very dangerous and is against the spirit of the internet, the spirit of being informed.

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Whenever I find a new technology, shoe, article, product, or anything that I find interesting, I like to read up on it. I like to learn the benefits it can offer me and how it can make my life better. I then like to challenge everything I just read. Think you found the next best thing for running? Do yourself a favor and head on over to google. Type in the title of that next best thing and add the word “debunked” to the end of it. This will most likely lead you to a very opinionated contrarian viewpoint.

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I love the contrarian viewpoint because it will either lead me to the truth or it will help me bolster my argument by understanding the other side of it. In my opinion, nothing bad can come of it. There are many pendulums swinging in the endurance industry now for footwear, nutrition, athletic wear, and every other type of product. We aren’t sure where these pendulums will end up and what the truth really is. The best thing we can do is challenge everything everyone says. Whatever you read on my blog, try to debunk it! Try to debunk the industry experts! It is fun and pushes every aspect of the sport and industry. Chip in and do your part:)

“People almost always find what they’re expecting to find if they allow their expectations to guide their search.” – Bart Ehrman

Always in Stride,

Jack