Does technology make us better informed or more blinkered?

A recent radio programme brought to my notice a study, performed by Demos (a cross-party think tank with a mission to bring politics closer to people (, into how the internet, and social media in particular, is used to communicate political ideas, news and debates. The study investigated the claim that technology is supporting confirmation bias, fortifying existing political biases and prejudices and restricting general awareness. This is often referred to as the ‘echo chamber’. The results of the study indicate that there is a strong link between a user’s political orientation and offline beliefs and how they interact and behave online. Not long afterwards, whilst reading a book, I came across ‘The Ladder of Inference’, first proposed by organisational psychologist Chris Argyris. I noticed how well technology, as illustrated by the Demos study results, fitted into the ladder diagram. So, I share my modified ladder with you…

The question this poses to us all is: what do you need to do to reduce confirmation bias and improve your communication skills?

Please note that the views expressed in this column are the author’s own personal ramblings for the purpose of encouraging discussion within the NDT Newspaper. They do not represent the views of Amec Foster Wheeler or the HSE who funded the PANI projects.

Letters can be mailed to The Editor, NDT News, Midsummer House, Riverside Way, Bedford Road, Northampton NN1 5NX. Fax: +44 (0)1604 438300; Email: or email Bernard McGrath direct at

Comments by members

This forum post has no comments, be the first to leave a comment.

Submit your comment

You need to log in to submit a Comment. Please click here to log in or register.

<< Back