A sea of bias.

Do you believe what you read?
Not if you read exhaustively.
Because you’ll inevitably discover today’s unsettling reality.
We’re swimming in a sea of bias.
Negotiating conflicting opinions about everything and everyone.
And when the experts agree?
Is it then safe to relax and believe?
I don’t think so.
At least not until you’ve gone to the source.
That’s just what Richard Griggs did with a classic psychology study.
And what he found is disconcerting.
Griggs analyzed the research and conclusions of Solomon Asch’s “conformity” experiments.
The ones in which participants were shown a vertical line on a card.
And were instructed to select the same line from a choice of three on another card.
It was a fairly simple perceptual task.
Until the seven confederates in the room with the participant unanimously chose the wrong line.
Then some of the participants went along with the group.
Even though their eyes (and mind) told them something different.
But here’s the key piece of information from the source experiment.
The majority of participants’ responses (63.2 per cent vs. 36.8 per cent) went against the group.
People, in general, defied the majority opinion and relied upon their own good judgment.
Asch himself wrote: “… the facts that were being judged were, under the circumstances, the most decisive.”
So why is this referred to as a “conformity” experiment?
Why isn’t it called an experiment on “independence?”
In fact, Griggs analyzed various textbooks and found that the conformity narrative dominated.
Most books never even mention that the majority of participants in Asch’s experiment rebelled.
I’m not sure why social psychology is biased towards conformity and obedience narratives (it is).
But it does make me wonder.
What other biased narratives are we experiencing on a daily basis?
And how are those narratives affecting our beliefs and behaviors?