Confirmation as coping with competition

Published on Nov 14, 2018in European Review of Social Psychology7.353
· DOI :10.1080/10463283.2018.1539908
Fabrizio Butera35
Estimated H-index: 35
(UNIL: University of Lausanne),
Nicolas Sommet8
Estimated H-index: 8
(UNIL: University of Lausanne),
Claudia Toma9
Estimated H-index: 9
(ULB: Université libre de Bruxelles)
Confirmation is a widespread tendency to seek, use, interpret or remember information in such a way as to corroborate one’s hypothesis. We review various conceptions of confirmation and classify them as a function of whether they depict this phenomenon as a cognitive failure, a form of motivational prioritisation, or a pragmatic strategy. Then, we note that such a systematic and pervasive phenomenon must be a central mechanism of human activity serving an important and specific social function. We propose that confirmation is an adaptive mechanism that serves the function of coping with competitive situations. This general proposition is broken down into three implications: Confirmation occurs to a larger extent (1) when there is competition, (2) when competition is threatening, (3) when competition threatens one’s feelings of competence. A research programme is reported to illustrate each of these implications.
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