July 2017

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Engineering Case Histories: Case 97—Beware of confirmation bias in industry

The term confirmation bias recently came up in a book I was reading,1 and it was then that I realized how relevant it was to engineering.

Sofronas, A., Consulting Engineer

The term confirmation bias recently came up in a book I was reading,1 and it was then that I realized how relevant it was to engineering. The term is applicable when researching or testing data that favors or confirms one’s belief, for example; or when selecting information that is desired over information that is correct. Confirmation bias has other names, such as selective thinking or wishful thinking. It is important to be aware that confirmation bias exists in our everyday engineering decisions. Recently, there has been much discussion in the media about fake news sources on various print and electronic media sites. Some reports are simply shock news, geared to grab our attention and in

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