In what contexts is this true and in what contexts can this be considered true and vice versa? Personally, I think it has a lot to do with confirmation bias, especially in natural sciences where for example certain researchers may develop a relationship that they deem true simply due to the data they collected. The best example I can think of is N-Rays, where the guy who supposedly discovered them, Prosper-René Blondlot, simply suffered from the experimenter's bias. Are there any other examples of this in human sciences? Or even history or Art?

  • Good question, but I'm not sure this is one for philosophy. Nov 29, 2023 at 3:23
  • Although I admit there seems to be some truth to the idea of a bias akin to "the last who talked is right", or that the public tends to consider the latest studies although they can be of lesser quality than old ones, I don't see how your exemple is related to what you describe. Prosper-René Blondlot saw what he wanted to see because he relied on his subjective impression rather than measurable output. It looks more like a text book example of confirmation bias.
    – armand
    Nov 29, 2023 at 6:38
  • @notwithstanding I say it has a relation to epistemology
    Nov 29, 2023 at 6:58
  • @armand Apologies, I should have included the fact that the initial public reception to N-Rays was positive, as in they believed it. Even amongst the scientific community initially, there was interest in it. Why does that happen, why in certain situations there is the belief that the evidence is true? and vice versa
    Nov 29, 2023 at 7:02
  • @OBAMIUM sure, but to me it reads more like a sociological question about human nature as it relates to evidence than something that engages with philosophical arguments. That might just be me though. Nov 29, 2023 at 7:02

1 Answer 1


Recency bias is a well-known and ubiquetous cognitive bias. It is mostly unrelated to the N-ray fiasco, which was a case of confirmation bias and priming in the context of bad experiment design. The corrective measure for these and most other cognitive biases in science is to use properly blinded experimenters or data-analysts and properly controlled experiments.

  • I think our recency bias might be strongly influenced by the fact that some things in life are not constant, and that recent evidence might be more relevant than older evidence for things that are not constant. Of course, some things are constant, especially in science, and our recency bias fails to distinguish constant and non-constant things.
    – Stef
    Nov 29, 2023 at 10:35

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