Congruence Bias

Let’s talk about cognitive biases: CONGRUENCE BIAS

The congruence bias describes the tendency to test a specific idea that you have rather than testing alternative ideas. We like to pat ourselves on the back for being “open-minded”, but we simply aren’t without diligent effort to undo these inborn energy saving biases.

It’s a form of confirmation bias because you tend to look to confirm pre-existing hypotheses or ideas rather than seeking out the best solution. In other words you continue to try to prove yourself right, which leaves you with tunnel vision. You simply cannot see a better solution to your problem because being right is more important. Once we’ve found a solution to a problem, why continue to look?

For example, many ketogenic diet researchers will test the effects of ketogenic diets exclusively without concomitantly testing high-carbohydrate diets or potential mediating variables like low-calorie diets that aren’t necessarily ketogenic. Basically, they keep piling evidence on the train of “keto puts diabetes in remission” instead of looking for evidence supporting alternative hypotheses like “fat loss (brought about by a keto diet) puts diabetes in remission.

Now how do we avoid this bias?

The easiest way to overcome the congruence bias is to investigate alternative ideas. Always make sure that you avoid only testing what you think will win and also ensure that you are designing tests around what is feasible, not just the most popular opinion about how to solve the current dilemma. Maybe you’ll be able to use this information to modify your idea and make it an even stronger position to hold, or maybe you’ll learn you were wrong. Either way it’s a win if the truth is found.

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