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Confirmation Bias: A Review

Recent theories in cognitive science and psychology point at the role emotions play in our decision-making and belief-formation, away from purely rational behaviour. Habits and patterns condition the seeming predictability of our behaviour. At the same time, the possibility of novelty is overshadowed by our interpretation of new information according to previous beliefs deeply tied to our behaviour. Ivanna Baranova’s Confirmation Bias explores the role of memory, rituals, technology, and emotions while meditating on moments when we get tired of ourselves, we forget ourselves, and we remember ourselves.

Her first collection of poetry encompasses a wide variety of themes, from gender to cyberbullying. Emotions such as love, grief, boredom, and nostalgia pervade many lines where one can get a sense of isolation and reflective rumination about the self in relation to:

cultural autopsies

and finite


Of this social

Imaginary. (13)

The poems perform a critique of various types of normativity that condition one’s response to the social environment. Baranova points out the impulsivity of emotions as a source of escape or break from patterns but also as a helpless affirmation of them. In some way, there is a sense of being a witness rather than a conscious decision-maker, often escaping to alcohol to blurry the lines of a behaviourist, deterministic fate.

Other poems concern themselves about the somatic dimensions of body perceptions as sources of interpretation that guide or bias behaviours. Baranova plays with appearances and subjectivity to illustrate the impossibility of capturing the ephemeral quality of emotions and mental states.


my electric hand

stays clenched in a fist

remembering. (34)

Overall, Confirmation Bias is a reflection of the inevitability of belief-formation as inherently biased. It is a depart from philosophies of free will but leaves the door open to the acceptance and awareness of our mental processes and the possibility of becoming conscious of our entrapments.

I know now

but didn’t know then

that the most insidious

part about loving you

specifically would be

the incessant


of every



felt (104).

By Saul Carrera


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