A biased search starts out with an idea of what a person wants to find and looks only for information that supports that idea and ignores all other information.
“Biased search, in the broadest sense, is any type of search that reveals only part of the universe of available information. Of course, it is hard to imagine a perfectly nonbiased search by any human being, so we should think about biased search as a continuum and question how biased the search is.
There are various influences that might bias our search. In some cases, it might just be that we look for information that is most readily available or easy to access—like the parable of the guy looking for his keys under a lamppost not because that was where he lost them but because that is where the light is.
If we are searching online, the specific terms we enter, the algorithm the search engine uses, or the placement of sponsored results at the top biases the search. Perhaps we are using a search engine that unintentionally ignores certain data or language.
Any search that is not fully representative is a form of biased search. When it comes to misbelief, a particular type of biased search plays out, driven by what is known as confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is a biased search that starts with a hypothesis and looks only for information that supports that hypothesis, discounting or ignoring anything that might contradict it.”
- Ariely, Dan. Misbelief: What Makes Rational People Believe Irrational Things. Harper: 2023
STARTING POINT: Highlight terms that appear in your assignment
Types of search terms:
Try out the Topic Finder Tool in Gale OneFile databases such as Communication and Mass Media (below). For example: you are searching for articles using the search term social media and fake news and a colorful chart of subtopics appears Click into individual subtopic cells to bring up a list of articles.