Confirmation Bias and Fixation in Effective Problem Solving

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We face problems everyday. Most of the time we don't even think about the problem solving skills involved in finding the solution; it just comes naturally. However, are the solutions we come up with the most effective solutions for that particular problem I would like to discuss the effects of confirmation bias, fixation in everyday problem solving, and finally the Tower of Hanoi problem and how fixation affects an individual's ability to solve the puzzle.


With confirmation bias we have an outcome in mind that we would like our solution to lead to. For instance, in the medical field there are many studies being done. An article in Applied Clinical Trials by Mark Hochhauser (2001), titled Conflict of interest, discusses biases in clinical studies. He reported that there is concern that financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies may cause confirmation bias in the studies. Hochhauser (2001) states that an article reporting on a drug that is sponsored by a pharmaceutical company is more likely to have a positive outcome then one that is not sponsored by a pharmaceutical company. In confirmation bias, there is a tendency to keep results that would be favorable to the outcome that is expected, while rejecting those that would show unfavorable.
This confirmation bias and fixation is not only in the medical field or at our work, we see it in everyday life as well. We come across problems everyday. Most are so minute that we don't even process them as problems; such as what to wear to work, or what to have for breakfast. Some problems we do knowingly go through the problem solving process. One such problem may involve vehicle repair. ...
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