Confirmation Bias?

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Preferred Member
Dec 29, 2016
I wonder how much of our opinions and comments on different tobaccos are influenced by reading reviews and others' opinions?
You want to try a new blend. You read a bunch of reviews and order a tin or a bag. You have a few bowls and say "oh yeah, I can definitely taste the (insert flavour here) Tom, Dick and Harry were absolutely right"
This is quite often followed by a number of replies that confirm this.
I can't help but think of the many wine scams over the years where people fell for an "expert's" reviews. Not suggesting for a moment that anyone here is trying to scam anyone.



Preferred Member
Jul 30, 2016
Confirmation bias affects everything WE DO. It can be insidious or innocuous, but it's there.
The trick to defeating it, is to acknowledge it and move forward.



Preferred Member
Jan 14, 2012
Yea, like movie critics, best movies in my book are panned by critics, found out in my 75 years on this planet is to go your own way. :puffy:


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Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
Outer Space
From a marketing perspective... human beings like being told what to like, think, and do. But, we don't like being told that we like being told... :puffy:



Preferred Member
Nov 26, 2018
Yes and no. I do always look and see what Jim thinks even though I don't always agree. I find his taste follow mine many times. Ash on the other hand is a bad ass to say the least.



Preferred Member
May 9, 2018
Raleigh, NC
When I started back up with the pipe again, I wanted to try everything, but of course my wallet can't afford that large of an order. So I did what likely a lot of guys do and read reviews, but first, I went to try and figure out what the best selling tobaccos out there were, since logic would dictate they're the best selling blends for a reason. When I picked out a bunch i wanted to try, I would then check the reviews, more often just to see what others experience with it was, and not really their rating. I found that stuff I ended up ordering and trying was much better to me than what others had reviewed. I can't remember the number of blends that I disagreed with JimInks about on flavor and rating, but there again is just a reminder of how much everyone's palate differs. I have since started using the SP's tobacco tool to sort out tobacco based on what I know I want from my smoke and go from there. I read the reviews once and again, but when someone says it came moist, mine came dry, when someone said the tin note was horrible, I thought it was gorgeous. So just like movies, I go with what interests me, not what others think, although if it's someone I know and trust and has like tobacco interests throws me a tip, I just might take them up on it.



Preferred Member
Mar 11, 2018
Yeah, I think you're right about this. I make it a point to sometimes try blends that I haven't read reviews for or else ones that don't seem to have any reviews. In fact just today I enjoyed some Rattray's Blossom Temptation which doesn't appear on "". I rather enjoy it even though it is a bit pricey. Lots of time I weigh price as an important factor. Motzek Herbst 84 is an English that I like a lot and which is among the cheapest pipe tobacco blends here in Germany.



Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
Outer Space
Don't forget pipes also... If someone spends $500 or more on a pipe, and if the pipe ended up not being as good as a cheaper pipe, there is no way in Hell that person would ever admit that to themself or anyone else.

Sep 9, 2017
Greene, Maine, USA
I never seem to remember much of what I read in any of the reviews I run across, though after a few of them, some of the vocabulary terms tend to remain somewhere in my memory.
Remembering that new-mown grass and new-mown hay do indeed smell different, I still find myself wondering if that is what the reviewers who use either term is referring to, or if it's an allegorical usage instead.



Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2018
Lexington, KY
I think there's confirmation bias to be sure, but reviews also guide you to "must-try" tobaccos. I think it's an important part of the hobby to understand why a blend is great, even if it doesn't suit your particular preferences.
For example, I've seen every one of the American Film Institute's top 100 films. Some of them I didn't enjoy, and don't ever plan to watch again (Raging Bull), but it's important and valuable to watch them and try to understand what makes them so well-regarded.
Take Penzance. There are plenty of people on here who don't care for it. I don't hate it, but it's not a blend I seek out. However, smoking several ounces of Penzance helped me to understand what makes it different from other blends, and what makes people value it so highly.



Preferred Member
Jul 19, 2018
If someone spends $500 or more on a pipe, and if the pipe ended up not being as good as a cheaper pipe, there is no way in Hell that person would ever admit that to themself or anyone else.
Really? Ever?



Preferred Member
Jan 5, 2018
I have no doubt that I am influenced by reviews and I don't care. I'm not an illustrious tobacco critic with an audience to answer to. If I like it, I'm good, confirmation bias or not.



Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
I don't often read reviews on tobaccos. I read others discussions about tobaccos, but given that I began piping 47-48 years ago, my education began with several tobacconists who suggested blends that I might try and my own explorations. That's still pretty much how I've gone about cellaring.



Senior Member
Jul 29, 2018
I've read at least a few reviews from other smokers on TobaccoReviews for every blend I have ever bought and many more that I haven't. I think these reviews have more influence over what new tobaccos I buy to try than over what I end up liking or not. I've certainly tried a quite a few well reviewed blends that that I didn't like and will never buy again.



Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
I'm something of an introvert and in some ways do my own thing, but maybe for this reason, I'm aware that people are highly social animals and other people and their opinions are also part of our chemistry, and to deny that makes you more rather than less vulnerable to the opinions of others. My take on confirmation bias is to watch for comment from somewhat disparate sources, granting that they may be listening to or reading each other. The trend can be correct or comically mistaken.



Preferred Member
Sep 9, 2017
human beings like being told what to like, think, and do. But, we don't like being told that we like being told...
Quotable quote. Send that to Readers' Digest!
(Totally agree, btw. I've seen it in action.)



Preferred Member
Oct 10, 2013
I'm finding myself greatly enjoying But I'm not sure exactly why........



Sep 11, 2011
I take notice if a large number of consumers rate a tobacco highly and might try a tobacco based off of volume of interest.
Beyond the tin description, I find reading detailed reviews of flavor profiles an annoying waste of time. If anything, some tool's self-important thesis of a review will make me avoid it instead of try it.


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