Think like a scientist

If we can distance ourselves from our feelings that support our biases and can learn to treat them simply like another data set, then we can look at our personal beliefs and compare and analyze them against other information objectively. 

This means that we can stay fact-focused and open minded, truly hearing and respecting what others say or do.

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There are times when the pros and cons of multiple options are equal and data comparison won't help. Time can also be a hindrance to working more scientifically from an operational standpoint. Then good emotional intelligence is more dependable than pure rational thought and scientific process.

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Even expert researchers suffer from the human foibles that undermine scientific thinking. 

This is why the open science revolution occurring in psychology is so important: when researchers make their methods and hypotheses transparent, and they pre-register their studies, it makes it less likely that they will be diverted by confirmation bias (seeking out evidence to support their existing beliefs).

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IDEAS

Thinking like a scientist does not mean you need to own a telescope or a microscope, but that you favor humility over pride and curiosity over conviction: You know what you don’t know, and you’re eager to discover new things. You don’t let your ideas become your identity. You look for reasons why you might be wrong, not just reasons why you must be right.

You listen to ideas that make you think hard, not just the ones that make you feel good. And you surround yourself with people who can challenge your process, not just the ones who agree with your conclusion.

In the vanishing ball illusion, a study found that when the magician pretends to throw the ball in the air, and his gaze follows the imaginary trajectory of the ball, almost two-thirds of the participants will be convinced that they had seen the ball move up. If his gaze did not follow the imaginary ball, the illusion was far less effective.

This illustrates that the illusion is mostly driven by expectations. Our eyes find it difficult to track fast-moving objects. Looking at the ball is only possible when we can predict where it will be in the future.

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