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Posts tagged "Confirmation Bias"

Another Week Ends: The Shortcomings of Reason, La La Land Parodies, Technological Glitches, Militant Veganization, Performance Art, Existential Billionaires, Extreme Church Makeovers, and a "Hostage Situation"

Another Week Ends: The Shortcomings of Reason, La La Land Parodies, Technological Glitches, Militant Veganization, Performance Art, Existential Billionaires, Extreme Church Makeovers, and a “Hostage Situation”

1. Lots of interesting links this week! First up, The New Yorker published “Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds,” a fascinating piece by Elizabeth Kolbert. Discussing at length the phenomenon of ‘confirmation bias’ — which suggests that we believe those facts that support our beliefs and reject those that challenge our beliefs — Kolbert ultimately confirms (bada bing!) much of what our own pop psych. archives have been saying for quite some time. Drawing from the work of cognitive scientists Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber, and their upcoming book The Enigma of Reason, Kolbert argues that “reason” is a tool we have developed to help ourselves convincingly navigate our biases without giving away our…

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Prejudice Like Crack: Confirming Confirmation Bias with Michael Lewis

Prejudice Like Crack: Confirming Confirmation Bias with Michael Lewis

I’ve been enjoying Michael Lewis’s new book, The Undoing Project, which picks up where Moneyball left off: When it comes to sports recruitment, if the numbers are more reliable than human judgment, the next question is why? What’s going on in the human mind that makes even the experts’ top picks hit-or-miss?

One answer is the inevitable confirmation bias. The following definition comes to us from our magazine’s recent Mental Health issue: “The tendency to experience the world through the lens of your already held beliefs. If you think, before you’ve eaten there, that La Frontera is a terrible restaurant…the odds are in favor of you hating it…

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How to Lose an Argument: Biased Assimilation in Rational Thinking

How to Lose an Argument: Biased Assimilation in Rational Thinking

I think we owe ourselves a congratulations. We got through the holidays! The holiday-less S.A.D.-inducing winter spans before us and the countdown to new TV shows and MLK day begins.

Amid all of my complaining about 2016 and the politics of gift-giving, I had forgotten to expect one thing that can actually make the holidays challenging: just spending time with family…occupying the same dinner table, digging into the same refrigerator, watching the same movies with a group of people we never chose our relation to. It was only a matter of time before our great Uncle Fabio–we all have one–staggered through the doorway with all sorts of opinions…

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Yesterday's News

Yesterday’s News

“Shellshocked” is the only way to describe the feeling at our bus stop the morning after the election. Parents hobbled out of their homes, disoriented and bewildered, in obvious need of more caffeine. My neighbor hailed me and my son as we made the walk to the bench where the kids all congregate. “Well,” he said, “I guess we’re living in an alternate universe now.”

It was too early to filter my thoughts, so I blurted out that maybe yesterday was the alternate universe, and today is reality. Really helpful.

You see, we live in a university town where the possibility of Trump winning…

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Know Thy Bias! A Guide for the Delusional

Know Thy Bias! A Guide for the Delusional

Behold! A sneak peek into the Mental Health Issue that’s probably arrived at your (cooler friend’s) house this week. If it hasn’t, well, there’s still time…but they are selling out! 

In the midst of an election year, and in the middle of a mental health issue, we’d be remiss not to visit the wide world of cognitive biases. When it comes to finding a bridge linking Christian theology and cognitive psychology, there’s really no better place to look than in the descriptions of many our self-contained blind spots. Much of this list is brought to us by David McRaney’s You Are…

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Surviving November

Surviving November

As we come to the close of a particularly vicious election cycle, we bring out from the archives our “Surviving November” series from four years back. Based on Jonathan Haidt’s work, The Righteous Mind, DZ delves into the moral psychology of political strife, and what hope we might be able to gather in spite of it.

 

I. Political Divides, Intuitive Dogs, and Rational Tails

Maybe the non-stop and increasingly ludicrous “opposition ads” have started to make you dread turning on the TV. Maybe you can’t read your (predominantly pop culture-focused!) Twitterfeed without getting depressed about the dehumanizing level of partisanship being so casually…

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The "Trigger-Warning" Life

The “Trigger-Warning” Life

Universities have historically always been on the leading edge of American cultural change. The university has, or at least tries to be, the place where new ideas are tested, refined, and put into meaningful action. Today’s college students become tomorrow’s leaders, which is to say that the recent explosion of “trigger warning” policies are not an aberration or fad that can be ignored.

As Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt so astutely outline in their cover story for The Atlantic (see DZ’s take here), the muting of “triggers” from pedagogy is an overt form of censorship of anything that might create unwelcome,…

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Mockingbird at the Movies: 12 Angry Men (Minus One)

Mockingbird at the Movies: 12 Angry Men (Minus One)

You can watch the focal length elongating in 12 Angry Men. This makes the close-ups (which come more and more frequently as the film furthers) become more personal, more detached from the judicial background. Also you can see that the camera shots, while doing this, are also beginning to take a different angle. The courtroom shots (which make up only the first two minutes of the 97-minute movie) and the early jury room shots are from above. By the end, you are looking upward, from below, at the faces of these sweaty men. It’s not just claustrophobia that’s created in…

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Argumentative Apes and the Wisdom of Foolishness: A Social Science Roundup

Argumentative Apes and the Wisdom of Foolishness: A Social Science Roundup

Two weeks ago, New Scientist wrote an excellent article alluding to many of the social science themes we cover. We’ll start with two thought-experiments noted in the article that illustrate human selfishness or irrationality:

1. Imagine an outbreak of disease threatening a small town of 600 people.  Given budget constraints, we can develop treatment A, which is guaranteed to save 200 people, or treatment B, which has a one-in-three chance of saving everyone and a two-in-three chance of saving no one. Which would you pick?

2. Imagine a different outbreak in a different town, with another choice between two…

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Anne's A, Burt's B, and the Conclusive Convenience of the "Myside"

Anne’s A, Burt’s B, and the Conclusive Convenience of the “Myside”

Libertarian economist Daniel B. Klein published an article in the Wall Street Journal that made some strong statements about the left-leaning, based on research he thought was well-founded. Flocks of conservatives and libertarians write back in sweeping jubilation, thanking Klein for affirming what they already knew was true; flocks of liberals fling back scathing rebuttals on the utter foolishness of the report. Big deal, right?

It gets interesting, though. Later, upon realizing that his research may have been somewhat slanted, Klein co-captains a research plan that would take into account what he coins the “myside bias” or “confirmation bias.” Based on…

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A Momentary Lapse of Reason(ing): Arguments, Justification and Good News

A Momentary Lapse of Reason(ing): Arguments, Justification and Good News

Have you heard of The Argumentative Theory of Reasoning? It is a recent breakthrough in the study of cognition, and a theory we can really get behind. Essentially an attempt to answer the question, why are human beings so good at reasoning in some areas and so bad at it in others? The researchers, who somehow appear to have transcended the very theory they’re propounding, have decided to challenge the most basic assumptions about the role and function of reason. What they’ve come up with is that reason, rather than being some objective, truth-oriented pursuit, is instead a social phenomenon….

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