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Posts tagged "Confirmation Bias"

Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry (30) reacts after hitting a 3-point basket during the second half of Game 4 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the New Orleans Pelicans in New Orleans, Saturday, April 25, 2015. The Warriors won 109-98 to sweep the series. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

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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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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