Understanding Written Texts Part 2 – Bias

Bias is an inherent part of human nature, and it can manifest in written text in various ways. Understanding bias is essential when analyzing written content. In this post, we’ll explore what bias is and provide examples to shed light on this important aspect of writing.

What is Bias?

Bias refers to the presence of unfair or prejudiced opinions in written text. It can be subtle or overt, but its impact is significant, as it can influence how readers perceive information.

people watching soccer game

Are football crowds biased?

Common types of Bias

  1. Confirmation Bias: This occurs when an author selectively presents information that supports their existing beliefs. For instance, “The study only highlighted the positive effects of the new drug while ignoring potential side effects.”
  2. Stereotyping: Authors may rely on stereotypes when describing people or groups, perpetuating prejudices. “The lazy teenager spent the entire day on the couch” is an example of age-based bias.
  3. Political Bias: This bias can be seen in political commentary that favours one party or ideology over others, potentially distorting the facts to fit the narrative.
  4. Cultural Bias: Cultural bias can manifest through cultural stereotypes or misunderstandings. “People from that country are all the same” is an example of this bias.
  5. Language Bias: This bias occurs when a certain language is used to favour or disfavour a particular group. For example, referring to one group as “migrants” and another as “immigrants” can carry different connotations.

Test Yourself: Spotting Bias in Written Text

Let’s put your skills to the test and see how well you can identify bias in written content. Read the following passages and check your answers below.

Passage 1
“John, a hardworking employee, consistently arrives early at the office and stays late to complete his tasks. Sarah, on the other hand, often takes long breaks and leaves promptly at 5 p.m. It’s clear who the more dedicated employee is.”

Passage 2:
“In a world filled with uncertainty, it’s crucial to be cautious when dealing with people from other cultures. They may have customs that seem strange or even threatening to us, so it’s best to stick to our own kind.”

Answers – Passage 1:

  1. Yes, this passage exhibits bias. It displays a bias in favour of John as the more dedicated employee.
  2. Bias is conveyed through the selective description of their behaviours, emphasizing John’s dedication while downplaying Sarah’s work.

Answers: – Passage 2:

  1. Bias is present in this passage, showing a bias against people from other cultures.
  2. This passage assumes that other cultures are strange and potentially threatening, suggesting a bias against cultural diversity.

Understanding bias in written text is crucial for critical thinking and effective communication. Recognizing bias enables readers to question the information presented and form a well-rounded perspective.

In the final blog post, we’ll compare opinions and biases and explore how to spot them in written text, providing a comprehensive understanding of these elements.

Stay tuned for the next post on “Opinion vs. Bias.”