Confirmation Bias Escaping our boundaries

What is confirmation bias?

Confirmation bias is when we automatically assume that information is accurate because it affirms our already held views. We seek out this type of information, and shun information sources that don’t support our views.

Mackey, T. et al. "Context and confirmation bias resources and questions" University of Buffalo - Empowering Yourself in a Post-Truth World. 2019

"on research" by Kris Straub - ChainsawSuit.com

Confirmation bias keeps us from wanting to explore outside of our own beliefs, boundaries, and views. We need to be cognizant of our own biases when reading, researching, and sharing information in our communities. In a Post-Truth world we also need to be aware of how media outlets can prey upon our own personal biases and how they reflect bias in their writing and production of information.

How to combat confirmation bias with metaliteracy

"Checkmate" by Stevepb. CC0 Public Domain. Pixabay.com

The immediate metaliteracy domain that applies to combating confirmation bias is the Affective domain because it relies on your emotions and attitudes as a learner and consumer of information. We know that confirmation bias is caused by strongly held beliefs, so it makes sense that our emotions are deeply tied to how we interact with information that challenges our views.

While the Affective domain is the overarching domain in which confirmation bias sits, we can combat our confirmation bias by thinking about it from all four domains of metaliteracy: Cognitive, Behavioral, Affective, and Metacognitive. As we move through the different roles associated with each of the domains we see where confirmation bias is recognized and ultimately use these different roles to help us escape our boundaries.

Metaliteracy Domains and Learner Roles

Mackey, T. et al. "Metaliterate learner web" University of Buffalo - Empowering Yourself in a Post-Truth World. 2019


As we have already talked about, the affective domain is where our emotions and attitudes play into the way we seek out information. The affective domain also shares space with how we share information with others. We have talked about how confirmation bias plays into our beliefs, but as we share information with others we want to ensure that we recognize how our bias influences the way we pick and choose information for our own knowledge, and why we share that information with others.


The behavioral domain encapsulates the skills and learning outcomes that we should be able to apply to our lives after learning activities. In this way, the behavioral domain gives us the technical and mental tools we need to combat confirmation bias. The behavioral domain is where we as teachers, develop activities and lessons to provide our students with the skills needed to take on confirmation bias in their everyday lives, not just for assignments.


The cognitive domain revolves around the knowledge we should have after participating in learning activities. The cognitive and behavioral domains are really two sides of the same coin. The cognitive side is all the knowledge we should now possess as learners and seekers of information, while the behavioral side encompasses the skills we should have to continue moving forward as information seekers. The cognitive domain helps us ensure that we understand what confirmation bias is, how it influences us, and how we can combat it. The cognitive domain is where we hold our conceptual knowledge of confirmation bias.


The metacognitive domain is where we are thinking about our own thinking. This plays directly into confirmation bias because as we recognize our own biases, we can then begin to separate those beliefs we cling to and start to see where other views might fit in. Being aware of how we think and why we think certain ways allows us to combat our own biases and explore information sources we may not have looked at before.


Confirmation bias can be a really tough issue to combat not only for our students, but for ourselves as well. Incorporating metaliteracy skills gives us the opportunity to help our students recognize what confirmation bias is, how to see it in their research process and information seeking, and how to combat it. The four domains of metaliteracy and the roles associated with each one can help students move from the concept of confirmation bias to combating it in real word information seeking.

Assignment Details

I chose this topic for my final project because it is something I face every day when conducting library instruction sessions with my students. Every conversation I have with students in regards to evaluating information sources revolves around the bias that we inherently have about certain topics and publishers as well as the bias that those specific publishers might have. This project allowed me to really think about how to incorporate the metaliterate domains and roles into my teaching so I can provide students with the skills needed to push beyond their comfort zone. The audience for my project is intended to be my colleagues here at CCBC. We have recently developed new information literacy competencies including one that focuses on recognizing both the student's point of view and the author's/publisher's. This page will hopefully provide my colleagues with a new way to frame the discussion of confirmation bias through the lens of metaliterate learning. Adobe Spark is an engaging webpage design tool that allows incorporation of text, images, videos, and links. I haven't used it before but am always trying to incorporate more online and digital tools into my repertoire. It allows my colleagues to be able to continue to go back and review the information on a webpage that will not disappear.

This page is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 license by Jamie Witman, except where otherwise noted.


Created with images by Gemma Evans - "untitled image" • geralt - "learn note sign" . All other credits provided on spark page.

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