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Accepting evidence when it pleases us

Dan Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness, wrote in a op-ed for the NYT that “when our bathroom scale delivers bad news, we hop off and then on again, just to make sure we didn’t misread the display or put too much pressure on one foot. When our scale delivers good news, we smile and head for the shower. By uncritically accepting evidence when it pleases us, and insisting on more when it doesn’t, we subtly tip the scales in our favor.”

That isn’t just the way we weigh ourselves in the bathroom.  We weigh evidence the same way. Gilbert continued “Research suggests that decision-makers don’t realize just how easily and often their objectivity is compromised. The human brain knows many tricks that allow it to consider evidence, weigh facts and still reach precisely the conclusion it favors.”