Pluralistic Ignorance

Pluralistic Ignorance

TV shows and movies frequently have scenes where one character has been putting up with something they dislike in order to please another character, only to find out that the other character also dislikes the thing. I can think of instances where characters have been drinking particular beverages they dislike, playing games they don't enjoy, … Continue reading Pluralistic Ignorance

Can We Avoid Cognitive Errors?

Can We Avoid Cognitive Errors?

Daniel Kahneman is not very hopeful when it comes to our ability to avoid cognitive errors. Toward the end of his book Thinking Fast and Slow, a book all about cognitive errors, predictable biases, and situations in which we can recognize such biases and thinking errors, Kahneman isn't so sure there is much we can … Continue reading Can We Avoid Cognitive Errors?

A Lack of Internal Consistency

A Lack of Internal Consistency

Something I have been trying to keep in mind lately is that our internal beliefs are not as consistent as we might imagine. This is important right now because our recent presidential election has highlighted the divide between many Americans. In most of the circles I am a part of, people cannot imagine how anyone … Continue reading A Lack of Internal Consistency

Can You Remember Your Prior Beliefs? - Joe Abittan

Can You Remember Your Prior Beliefs?

"A general limitation of the human mind," writes Daniel Kahneman in his book Thinking Fast and Slow, "is its imperfect ability to reconstruct past states of knowledge, or beliefs that have changed. Once you adopt a new view of the world (or any part of it), you immediately lose much of your ability to recall … Continue reading Can You Remember Your Prior Beliefs?

Regression to the Mean Versus Causal Thinking

Regression to the Mean Versus Causal Thinking

Regression to the mean, the idea that there is an average outcome that can be expected and that overtime individual outliers from the average will revert back toward that average, is a boring phenomenon on its own. If you think about it in the context of driving to work and counting your red lights, you … Continue reading Regression to the Mean Versus Causal Thinking

The Availability Heuristic

The Science of Availability

Which presidential candidate is doing more advertising this year? Which college football team has been the most dominant over the last five years? Who has had the most songs on the Hot 100 over the last five years? You can probably come up with an intuitive answer to (at least one of) these questions even … Continue reading The Science of Availability

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

Seeing Causality

Seeing Causality

In Thinking Fast and Slow Daniel Kahneman describes how a Belgian psychologist changed the way that we understand our thinking in regard to causality. The traditional thinking held that we make observations about the world and come to understand causality through repeated exposure to phenomenological events. As Kahneman writes, "[Albert] Michotte [1945] had a different … Continue reading Seeing Causality

Conscious and Unconscious Priming Effects

Conscious and Unconscious Priming Effects

"Another major advance in our understanding of memory was the discovery that priming is not restricted to concepts and words," writes Daniel Kahneman in his book Thinking Fast and Slow, "You cannot know this from conscious experience, of course, but you must accept the alien idea that your actions and your emotions can be primed … Continue reading Conscious and Unconscious Priming Effects