Confirmation bias in statistical research happens. If you aren’t careful about the samples you use, you can make the wrong conclusions about data points. When Derek Jeter went four-for-four to get 3000 hits, many felt that he was back. This is despite all the research to date about aging curves and shortstops. Because it was Derek Jeter, many ignored the research and cherry picked to confirm what they already ‘knew.’
While drinking Napa Smith Organic IPA last night, confirmation bias was in action. Twice.
The first time was a marketer’s dream. At the store, all it took were the words ‘organic’ and ‘IPA’ and the four-pack was in my cart despite the price. Organic! IPA! Thank you very much. We took it home, opened it up, tasted the hoppy sweetness of the IPA, and labeled it a winner.
It was probably all about the name. But in my quest for words for beers, it was time to check a few other people’s words on the subject. I couldn’t quite name the aroma in the back of my mouth after a sip, and BeerAdvocate was there to help. Fig. Yeah, I could see that. Bread? Maybe. Orange? As much as many hops are citrusy. But malty, malty was the taste I was sure I tasted the most. They figured that one out.
Unfortunately, in the process of reading the reviews, I discovered that the beer is not very well regarded. Shit you not, the beer started tasting worse in my mouth as I drank it. Now it was too bready, not sweet enough, not complicated enough, too leafy, just not right.
You have to be careful about when you decide to check with other people about their opinions. Confirmation bias lurks around every corner.