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Confirmation bias in the utilization of others' opinion strength.

Kappes, A; Harvey, AH; Lohrenz, T; Montague, PR; Sharot, T; (2020) Confirmation bias in the utilization of others' opinion strength. Nature Neuroscience , 23 pp. 130-137. 10.1038/s41593-019-0549-2. Green open access

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Abstract

Humans tend to discount information that undermines past choices and judgments. This confirmation bias has significant impact on domains ranging from politics to science and education. Little is known about the mechanisms underlying this fundamental characteristic of belief formation. Here we report a mechanism underlying the confirmation bias. Specifically, we provide evidence for a failure to use the strength of others' disconfirming opinions to alter confidence in judgments, but adequate use when opinions are confirmatory. This bias is related to reduced neural sensitivity to the strength of others' opinions in the posterior medial prefrontal cortex when opinions are disconfirming. Our results demonstrate that existing judgments alter the neural representation of information strength, leaving the individual less likely to alter opinions in the face of disagreement.

Type: Article
Title: Confirmation bias in the utilization of others' opinion strength.
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41593-019-0549-2
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41593-019-0549-2
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10090483
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