Overcompensating for one’s biases

I’ve noticed that I have a bias to sometimes give more credence than I should to arguments that go against my political convictions. This is related to the middle-ground fallacy but isn’t exactly the same thing because I can even be willing to go past the 50:50 point.

I’m very much on the Left of the political spectrum so my natural bias is to believe the arguments of liberals/progressives/whatever term you prefer-ists. However, in the last few years I’ve read so much about cognitive biases and moral psychology and so on that I’ve developed a new bias: the desire to be unbiased.

Basically I now have a tendency to think that it is always more virtuous to be able to see both sides of the argument. And indeed, it generally is good to be able to do so! The problem is when I over-compensate for my leftist-bias.

I think this matches up with my tendency to have hipster-ish tendencies with respect to music and other forms of media. I think it’s cool to like a band that others don’t know about because it requires an investment of time on my behalf to discover that band. Once everyone else knows about them then it’s no longer as cool because now I can no longer efficiently signal my general interest in music (unless I commit the faux pas of saying how much I liked them before they were cool).

In the context of politics, I might be trying to signal to others that I’m not a totally biased lefty or I might be counter-signalling that I’m such a lefty that I can see things from the perspective of the Right and still be on the Left myself.

Honestly though, it’s probably just me trying to signal that I’m not prone to the same biases as everyone else. So yeah, I’m just being really lame!



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