William D. Stansfield
The American Biology Teacher 74 (3), 145-149, (1 March 2012) https://doi.org/10.1525/abt.2012.74.3.4
KEYWORDS: confirmation bias, controlled experiments, double-blind experiments, empirical data, observations, optical illusions, pheromones, repeatability, synaesthesia
Science requires the acquisition and analysis of empirical (sense-derived) data. Given the same physical objects or phenomena, the sense organs of all people do not respond equally to these stimuli, nor do their minds interpret sensory signals identically. Therefore, teachers should develop lectures on human sensory systems that include some common examples of sensory limitations, variations, deficiencies, malfunctions, and diseases (as discussed herein) because they have important implications for conducting scientific investigations, science education, and introspection that are seldom included in biology textbooks. Students need to be made aware of the human tendency to self deception in order to avoid the cognitive error of confirmation bias.