Probability Judgments

Probability Judgments

Julia Marcus, an epidemiologist at Harvard Medical School, was on a recent episode of the Ezra Klein show to discuss thinking about personal risk during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Klein and Marcus talked about the ways in which the United States Government has failed to help provide people with structures for thinking about risk, and how … Continue reading Probability Judgments

Substitution Heuristics

Substitution Heuristics

I think heuristics are underrated. We should discuss heuristics as a society way more than we do. We barely acknowledge heuristics, but if we look closely, they are at the heart of many of our decisions, beliefs, and assumptions. They save us a lot of work and help us move through the world pretty smoothly, … Continue reading Substitution Heuristics

Rarely Stumped

Rarely Stumped

Daniel Kahneman starts one of the chapters in his book Thinking Fast and Slow by writing, "A remarkable aspect of your mental life is that you are rarely stumped. True, you occasionally face a question such as 17 × 24 = ? to which no answer comes immediately to mind, but these dumbfounded moments are … Continue reading Rarely Stumped

What You See Is All There Is

What You See Is All There Is

In Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman gives us the somewhat unwieldy acronym WYSIATI - what you see is all there is. The acronym describes a phenomenon that stems from how our brains work. System 1, the name that Kahneman gives to the part of our brain which is automatic, quick, and associative, can only … Continue reading What You See Is All There Is

First Impressions Matter

First Impressions Matter

In Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman describes a research study that shows the power of the halo effect. The halo effect is the phenomenon where positive traits in a person outshines the negative traits or characteristics of the individual, or cause us to project additional positive traits onto them. For example, think of your … Continue reading First Impressions Matter

Positive Test Strategies

Positive Test Strategies

A real danger for us, that I don't know how to move beyond, is positive test strategy. It is the search for evidence that confirms what we want to believe or what we think is true. When we already have an intuition about something, we look for examples that support our intuition. Looking for examples … Continue reading Positive Test Strategies

Causal Versus Statistical Thinking

Causal Versus Statistical Thinking

Humans are naturally causal thinkers. We observe things happening in the world and begin to apply a causal reason to them, asking what could have led to the observation we made. We attribute intention and desire to people and things, and work out a narrative that explains why things happened the way they did.   … Continue reading Causal Versus Statistical Thinking