Conference Schedule

Transforming Confirmation Bias to Generate Curiosity and Critical Consciousness in Social Science Courses

CC19 • concurrent • Return to conference schedule
Thursday, May 2, 2019 • 11:15 a.m. – 11:55 a.m.
Dillon Hall 367
James Wittebols University of Windsor Show biographies
Dr. Jim Wittebols is professor in the Political Science department. He taught media literacy for 15 years before developing an information literacy course. Before venturing into information literacy, his previous research focused on promotional culture, television and soap opera storytelling, and the politics of popular culture. He regards understanding the information environment as crucial to our lives as students/professors, consumers and citizens.

This session will discuss the results of a synthesis of theory and research in three areas: confirmation bias (CB), curiosity, and media and information literacy education. The objective of this synthesis is to understand how helping students critique their tendency to engage in confirmation bias helps to spur curiosity and critical consciousness about learning. Helping students confront their tendency to engage in confirmation bias enables them to better check themselves when they engage in it. Curiosity about the self is provoked when people realize their CB tendencies. Curiosity about the larger social world is emerges when students learn how CB affects the way they look at the world. Drawing on the work of Paulo Friere’s ideas about critical consciousness, media and information literacy education should be experiential with faculty playing a facilitating, rather than an “expert” role. This approach reflects constructivist and self-directed learning approaches. These practices may find broader application across the social sciences and humanities.