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Getting Smarter through Language

Intermediate Reading Course. Section 3: Interpreting the Message

The Writer’s Bias

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Leaning in Different Directions

We all certain biases, or the tendency to interpret or judge people and things based on our existing personal attitudes and views.

Our biases influence our perceptions and attitudes.

Biases can be positive or negative. If you have a positive bias toward something, your perceptions and attitudes lean toward the positive. Similarly, if you have a negative bias, your perceptions and attitudes lean in the opposite direction.

For example, parents are biased toward their children. They think think their children are smarter, more creative, and cuter than other people’s children because of their bias.

Detecting and Interpreting the Writer’s Bias

When reading a text, it is important to detect the writer’s bias because it gives you an insight on the writer’s motivations, the information the writer chooses to present or omit, and the ideas the writer may be trying to sell you.

Heavily biased texts tend to rely on unsubstantiated claims, present only facts that support the writer’s position, exaggerate ideas, and try to sell you ideas covertly.

When you notice a bias, you should consider that the information being presented is colored by the writer’s biases. You can then interpret the information carefully. It is a good idea to find other sources of information to check the writer’s claims and argument so you have a more balanced view on the topic and are not persuaded based on distorted information.

Up Next: Function of Sentences and Paragraphs

Go to the next lesson to learn about the function of sentences and paragraphs in the text.