Confirmation bias is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms or supports one’s prior beliefs or values.
Michelle chose Nayte. Confirmation bias is how she got there.
We learned some critical things from Brandon’s meeting with Michelle’s family. We discovered that she had school Principal aspirations for her career and that she and Brandon had explicitly talked about how he would support her plan for that.
One of the popular drinking game phrases in the Bachelor franchise is he/she “checks all the boxes.” This has been said by many cast members, whether in leading or contestant roles. In addition to her personality on the show, we can infer from the type of career that Michelle aspires to that she is a planful, everything-done-right-and-orderly person, and a check the box type. That is nothing remarkable.
The problem, though, was Nayte, who was the cheat code to get past the requirements on the list. Michelle told us how crucial her first meeting with Nayte was. He was the very first guy out of the first limo. Looking back at that moment, “Instant chemistry” and “instant kinetic energy” were phrases she used. In other words, she had decided Nayte was on her list before she even knew if he met the requirements of her list. And she consistently looked to prove herself correct.
This led to the critical part of her journey. Brandon was the guy left when she was finished sifting through who checked all her boxes. Nayte was the confirmation bias guy she already decided she liked, and she spent the rest of the season looking for information that validated her initial belief. She also displayed a closely related cousin to confirmation bias, disconfirmation bias, which is the tendency to disregard contrary information, e.g., all the red flags that both she and her parents had about Nayte’s readiness for marriage.
In no way am I suggesting that Nayte is the wrong guy. I am suggesting that Nayte was ALWAYS the guy from the first moment, and Michelle worked hard to convince herself that he was checking all her boxes throughout the journey, even when such evidence was lacking.
Speaking of Journey, cue It Could Have Been You in honor of Brandon’s broken heart.
You don’t need me, no…
I… can’t wait all my life, on a street of broken dreams
It could have been you my love (where are you now)
Oh I…still wonder if you remember the night
It could have been you
And as long as we’re talking about psychology, the picture Kaitlyn took of Brandon was a Jungian treasure trove of opposites: the waves crashing towards him vs. the sunlight shining on him; the sound of the waves vs. the silence of the light; the cool water vs. the sun’s warmth. And shadows. If we’re talking Jung, we’re talking shadows. There’s a lot going on in this picture.
A few brief, random observations. While it wasn’t a “shocking ending”, the Brandon breakup made it a gut-wrenching sad one. Kaitlyn was a solid hostess in an unexpected solo role. Chris who? Neil Lane made a reappearance and is probably going to insist on collecting the security deposit for the ring Brandon threw into the ocean. I could go on – the flowers and presents the guys brought to the families were clearly picked up by a producer intern from the hotel gift shop – but I’m calling a wrap on this season. It felt long, probably because of going from Clare (didn’t work out) to Tayshia (didn’t work out) to Katie (didn’t work out) to Paradise (Grocery Store Joe + Serena and Becca + Thomas were part of the studio audience) to finally getting to Michelle. We’ll root for her and Nayte while history suggests we bet against them. At some point, confirmation bias will meet reality.
P.S. Are you as unenthused as I am about The Bachelor starting in two weeks? Especially since it’s Clayton?
P.P.S. Like Michelle, we ended the season where we started with Black Girl Magic Red Blend.
 Songwriters: Stephen Ray Perry / Neal Joseph Schon / Jonathan Cain