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The Fluency Effect

Things that our mind can process easily will make us overconfident.

When we see someone does hard thing effortlessly, we often think we can do it too.

When we see a final product that looks perfectly normal, we think the process leading to that is also easy and smooth.

When we see a great book that is easy to read, we think it’s also easy to write it, while the opposite is true.

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“We are frequently overconfident about the extent of our knowledge—we think we know more than we really do.”

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Confirmation Bias

We have a tendency to confirm what we already believe.

Because of this, we only focus on finding confirming evidences, even though seeking evidences that will say otherwise is equally important.

This is dangerous for us, especially if what we believe is not a factual truth.

If we’re looking for truth, we must look for disconfirming evidence even though it makes us uncomfortable.

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“Confirming data is necessary but not sufficient, because you also need to disconfirm your hypothesis.”

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Planning Fallacy

We often underestimate time and effort required to complete a task. That’s why we miss deadlines, exceed our budget, or run out of energy before we finish.

To overcome this, we need to come up with specific and detailed plan. We need to divide the task into smaller ones that we can estimate more accurately.

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“The perceived fluency of an impending task makes us underestimate the difficulty of executing”

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Causal Attribution

There are multiple cues that people use to infer causality of an event:

  • Similarity
  • Sufficiency
  • Necessity
  • Abnormality
  • Recency
  • Controllability

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“One of the most important functions of causal reasoning is to control future events. We want to avoid mishaps and repeat good outcomes by identifying the reasons each happened.”

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Key Concepts in Statistics

We often feel anecdotes from people we know more persuasive than scientific evidence. This is because we don’t understand statistics well.

3 key concepts we must always remember:

  1. Law of Large Number (more data in a sample, more accurate conclusion)
  2. Regression Toward the Mean (extreme result will be followed by moderate ones)
  3. Bayes’ Theorem (just because probability of A given that B occurs is high, it doesn’t mean that probability of B given A occurs is also high)

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“The more observations we make, the more accurately we can generalize the pattern to cases we have not yet observed or make predictions about the future.”

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Negativity Bias

People weigh negative information more than positive information.

According to revolutionary work by Kahneman and Tvetsky, we treat the same monetary values differently, depending on whether they are gains or losses. This is called loss aversion.

We have this bias because our ancestors were living on the line, small error can cost them their life. So it’s better to play safe.

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“Our preferences and choices are based on how the options are framed rather than the options per se.”

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Biased Interpretation

When we see or experience new things, our existing belief and knowledge will color our judgment and interpretation about it. This is how our cognition works.

This top down processing happens automatically and spontaneously, whether we want it or not.

To overcome this, we need external help to review our perspective and change it into a more healthier view of the world.

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“Sometimes, it’s easier and better to focus on solving the problems caused by different perspectives than trying to change those perspectives themselves.”

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Curse of Knowledge

When we perceive something, we interpret it based on what we already know.

We believe that everybody else, including people who don’t posses what we know, would see the situation similarly that we do.

This is a common cause of communication problem.

We need to put ourselves in everybody else’s shoes and take their perspective to be better at communication. We also need to ask questions more.

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“Often our communication failures occur simply because we neglect to consider the other person’s perspective.”

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Problem of Delayed Gratification

An ability to delay short term rewards to prioritize long term outcomes is a positive trait and it highly correlates with success in the long run.

However, it’s also important for us to enjoy the process, not just the final goal. This will increase our probability to avoid physical and mental health issues at our young age.

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“The decisions we make for ourselves should be as impartial as possible and based on statistical principles and probability theories, because they provide the most accurate predictions”

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IDEAS CURATED BY

clevercoworker

Lifelong learner and content creator. Helping you to find joy at work, get more things done, and be your best self.

CURATOR'S NOTE

This book is based on a popular course in Yale University and is written by the professor.

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