There is this paragraph in the book called .

Motivated reasoning is a state of mind in which we find ourselves willing (perhaps at an unconscious level) to shade our beliefs in light of our opinions; confirmation bias is the mechanism by which we may try to accomplish this, by interpreting information so that it confirms our preexisting beliefs.

In this context, what is the meaning of the verb "shade?" The following sentence implies that the expression "to shade our beliefs" may contain a similar meaning to the one that says "[to confirm] our preexisitng beliefs." Am I getting this right?


Here shade has a meaning similar to adjust slightly, metaphorically like an artist changing a picture by changing the shade of an area.

The implication is that our opinions affect our beliefs (I suspect the reverse effect may be greater, with our beliefs affecting our opinions, but it is possible that they affect each other). The issue is related to confirmation bias and other cognitive biases.


There, shade is synonymous with the verb to color which is used figuratively to mean "to affect to some degree, to bias".

Consider what happens to white paint when a few drops of colored pigment are added to it.


The whole sentence means that we tend to unconsciously conceal our beliefs in favor of our opinions, i.e. we tend to believe whatever information confirms our preexisting opinions, irrespective of the source. (see Cognitive Bias)

  • shade (verb) - to cover with a shade, to hide partly, to bias, to slant.
  • The example passage reads as more pretentious than meaningful but even so, "shade" in that context means adjust/alter/change/nuance – Robbie Goodwin Jun 26 '20 at 22:41

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