Confirmation bias

I will never forget the quasi-humorous sign in the radiology reading room:

I’ll see it when I believe it.

Robert Burton, a former Chief of Neurology at Mount Zion Medical Center, explains it this way:

“Neural networks don’t give you a direct route from, say, a flash of light straight to your consciousness. There are all kinds of committees that vote along the way, whether that flash of light is going straight to your consciousness or not. And if there are enough ‘yes’ votes, then yes you can see it. If there aren’t, then you could miss it. But here’s the thing; what does your brain like? What gets the ‘yes’ vote? It likes the stuff it already recognizes. It likes what is familiar. So you will see familiar stuff right away. The other stuff may take longer, or it may never impinge on your consciousness. You just won’t see it.”


 

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