Browse Definitions :
Definition

backfire effect

The backfire effect is the tendency of some people to resist accepting evidence that conflicts with their beliefs. The effect is demonstrated when people presented with that conflicting information become even more convinced of their original beliefs rather than questioning them.

Common sense tells us that if we are presented with new information that clearly suggests we've been wrong about something, we will consider that information and adjust our thinking on the matter. That may happen most of the time. However, some people in some cases will react illogically.

The backfire effect is one manifestation of confirmation bias, the tendency of people to give more credence to evidence that supports their preexisting beliefs. In this case, the bias is so strong that people refuse to consider the possibility that they were mistaken. Data that does not support their beliefs is dismissed and, perhaps because they know on some level that they were wrong, they profess even greater confidence that they have been correct all along. They may dismiss data as statistical noise and take even more extreme positions on issues than was initially the case.

Cognitive errors such as the backfire effect can be problematic for data analysis. Despite all the technology, the human factor is inevitably involved in selection of inputs and criteria as well as interpretation of results. Cognitive bias is unavoidable, however. The best protection from it is awareness of its presence and applying critical thinking skills to overcome it.

This was last updated in August 2017

Continue Reading About backfire effect

Networking
  • NBASE-T Ethernet

    NBASE-T Ethernet is an IEEE standard and Ethernet-signaling technology that enables existing twisted-pair copper cabling to ...

  • SD-WAN security

    SD-WAN security refers to the practices, protocols and technologies protecting data and resources transmitted across ...

  • net neutrality

    Net neutrality is the concept of an open, equal internet for everyone, regardless of content consumed or the device, application ...

Security
  • privacy impact assessment (PIA)

    A privacy impact assessment (PIA) is a method for identifying and assessing privacy risks throughout the development lifecycle of...

  • proof of concept (PoC) exploit

    A proof of concept (PoC) exploit is a nonharmful attack against a computer or network. PoC exploits are not meant to cause harm, ...

  • virtual firewall

    A virtual firewall is a firewall device or service that provides network traffic filtering and monitoring for virtual machines (...

CIO
  • Regulation SCI (Regulation Systems Compliance and Integrity)

    Regulation SCI (Regulation Systems Compliance and Integrity) is a set of rules adopted by the U.S. Securities and Exchange ...

  • strategic management

    Strategic management is the ongoing planning, monitoring, analysis and assessment of all necessities an organization needs to ...

  • IT budget

    IT budget is the amount of money spent on an organization's information technology systems and services. It includes compensation...

HRSoftware
  • diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI)

    Diversity, equity and inclusion is a term used to describe policies and programs that promote the representation and ...

  • ADP Mobile Solutions

    ADP Mobile Solutions is a self-service mobile app that enables employees to access work records such as pay, schedules, timecards...

  • director of employee engagement

    Director of employee engagement is one of the job titles for a human resources (HR) manager who is responsible for an ...

Customer Experience
  • customer retention

    Customer retention is a metric that measures customer loyalty, or an organization's ability to retain customers over time.

  • virtual agent

    A virtual agent -- sometimes called an intelligent virtual agent (IVA) -- is a software program or cloud service that uses ...

  • chatbot

    A chatbot is a software or computer program that simulates human conversation or "chatter" through text or voice interactions.

Close