What they say is all I need

The role of narratives in confirmation bias

By Michael McCarthy, Richelle Acreman, Jonathan Janzen, Flora Oswald, and Sven Van de Wetering in posters

May 18, 2018


A poster presentation my team gave on how narratives influence confirmation bias.


May 18, 2018


1:30 PM – 2:30 PM


Kwantlen Polytechnic University



Social scientists have long known about the malleability of attitudes to persuasive communications. But what happens when changed attitudes transform into change-resilient beliefs? This review explores how confirmation bias, the tendency to search for, interpret, favour, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s pre-existing beliefs can be caused and reinforced by narratives—termed here as narrative-driven confirmation bias. Narrative-driven confirmation bias is ubiquitous and its implications for individual and group behaviour are serious; from its political use in garnering support and silencing alternative views to its influence on how healthcare providers diagnose their patients, this cognitive bias has the power to shape societies and change lives. Peer-reviewed journal articles on attitudes, persuasion, and biases were reviewed to create a model of narrative-driven confirmation bias and explore its underlying mechanisms and potential consequences. Current gaps in the literature are identified, and recommendations for future experimental research are provided.

Posted on:
May 18, 2018
1 minute read, 149 words
See Also:
Social priming does not influence performance on the Implicit Association Test
Implicit Association Test effects are an artifact of design
Positive test strategies and confirmation bias in social assessment