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Fake News & Bad Info: Media Literacy Resources

Learn how language can be used to in a way that it affects the way people perceive reality. Unlike real news, whose purpose is to simply inform, the main purpose of fake news is to confuse and manipulate people.

How Bias Screws Up Decision-Making Abilities

What is Bias?

Bias icon





According to the Oxford English Dictionary, bias is: an inclination, leaning, tendency, bent; a preponderating disposition or propensity; predisposition towards; predilection; prejudice.

Bias is a point of view that may influence how information is conveyed and processed

  • Spin 
    • information itself may be incorrect, but it is "spun" or presented in such a way that it is interpreted to mean something else, or be aligned to a targeted point of view or values 
  • Implicit Bias 
    • unintentional
      • upbringing or personal background
      • media exposure creeps in
      • affects judgments, decisions, and behaviors.
        • develop self-awareness skills to be aware of your own biases
          • self-awareness means to have conscious knowledge of our own character, feelings, motives, and desires. 
    • choose resources with the potential of bias in mind
    • evaluate if a bias is strongly influencing the trustworthiness of the source
    • many people see opinion they agree with as fact or as truth and opinion they disagree with as fake or false
  • Explicit Bias
    • attitudes and beliefs we have about a person or group on a conscious level
    • take root because of a perceived threat to well-being
    • expression
      • discrimination
      • hate speech
      • violence

Understanding and addressing our personal biases helps us be more aware of how we are interacting with information.

  • Are you curious and open to new information?
  • Do you seek out information from multiple and divergent perspectives?
  • Do you prefer information that confirms what you already "know"?
  • Are you comfortable updating our thinking when presented with new information?
  • Do you just double down so you don't have to be bothered?  

The chart below depicts biases we are all vulnerable to.

Bias chart


Lee, Samantha and Drake Bear. "20 Cognitive Biases That Screw Up Your Decisions." Business Insider Australia. Dec. 24, 2015. Accessed June 30, 2020.

Butler, Walter, D. Aloha Sargent, and Kelsey Smith. "Information Sources: Bias," Introduction to College Research. OER. Pressbooks. 2020.

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