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Illusion of certainty


The belief that an event is absolutely certain although it may not be. For instance, people tend to believe that the results of modern technologies, such as HIV testing, DNA fingerprinting, ordinary fingerprinting techniques, medical tests, or even the mechanical vote-counting machines used in elections are certain, that is, error free. The illusion can have benefits, such as reassurance, but also costs, such as suicide after a false positive HIV test. With respect to morals, religion, and political values, the illusion of certainty may be a requirement for being accepted by a social group, fostering social control.