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How a Pioneer in the Science of Mistakes Ended Up Mistaken

Statistics Inaccuracies

Most studies that involve statistical research remain largely inaccurate, and a large number of hypotheses use data samples which are inadequate.

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How a Pioneer in the Science of Mistakes Ended Up Mistaken

How a Pioneer in the Science of Mistakes Ended Up Mistaken

https://slate.com/technology/2016/12/kahneman-and-tversky-researched-the-science-of-error-and-still-made-errors.html

slate.com

4

Key Ideas

Statistics Inaccuracies

Most studies that involve statistical research remain largely inaccurate, and a large number of hypotheses use data samples which are inadequate.

Beliefs and Statistics

  • Researchers extract a lot of false certainty from data which is used to study a particular hypothesis, due to their myopic thinking, confirmation bias, and other cognitive assumptions that they aren't even aware of.
  • Many researchers believe in small samples of data as if they stand for the whole of the population, and this can lead to unpredictable consequences.

The Eye Poster Experiment

It points out our irrational bias and behavior towards our surroundings. How people succumb to irrational beliefs was demonstrated in an experiment at a University Kitchen.

It found out that if there was a poster with eyes put up near the kitchen counter, then people were more likely to pay for the food, subconsciously taking those eyes in the poster as someone looking at them.

The Anchoring Effect

The Anchoring effect is a phenomenon studied in the art of persuasion and influence.

It states that people tend to register the first piece of information that they get and 'anchor' it in their minds subconsciously. This makes them compare the second piece of information they get with the anchored information in their minds, automatically.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

The Way We Delude Ourselves
The Way We Delude Ourselves

Cognitive Biases are a collection of faulty and illogical ways of thinking which are hardwired in the brain, most of which we aren’t aware of.

The idea of cognitive biases was invented ...

Hyperbolic Discounting

It's a tendency to heavily weigh the moment which is closer to the present, as compared to something in the near or distant future.

Example: If you are offered a choice of $150 right now or $180 after 30 days, you would be more inclined to choose the money you are offered right now. However, if we take the present moment out of the equation, and put this offer in the distant future, where you are offered $150 in 12 months or $180 in 13 months, your choice is likely to be the latter one.

Common Biases
  • Actor-Observer Bias: the way the explanation of other people’s behaviour tends to focus on the influence of their personality while being less focused on the situation while being just the opposite while explaining one’s own behaviour.
  • Zeigarnik Effect: when something unfinished and incomplete tends to linger in the mind and memory.
  • The IKEA Effect: when our own assembling of an object is placed at a higher value than the other objects.
  • Optimism Bias: makes us underestimate the cost and duration for every project we try to undertake or plan.
  • Availability Bias: makes us believe whatever is more easily available to our consciousness, and is more vivid (or entrenched) in our memory.

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The Flaw in Jordan Peterson’s Argument On Hierarchy

Peterson suggests human hierarchies aren’t socially created, but are effects of human evolution. His evidence for this is the fact that lobsters also have hierarchies.

Human and lobsters

The Flaw In Jordan Peterson’s Comparison Between Humans And Lobsters

Serotonin is linked to aggression and is found in the brains of most animals, humans and lobsters include, as expected of creatures with a common ancestor. But serotonin has a completely different effect in arthropods and vertebrates.

In vertebrates lowered levels of serotonin has been shown to lead to increased aggression, the opposite happens on humans.

Note Taking

Students who take notes during a lecture or presentation achieve more than those who just passively listen.

Note-taking makes one's attention focused on the ideas being discussed, and also le...

Note Taking Cues

When the instructor says 'this is important' or 'note this', or gives a non-verbal cue that the content being discussed is important, it can enhance the student's note-taking. They can also listen to the cues to help them organize their lessons.

Revision of notes

Revision of notes, done right after the lecture, is a crucial step so that any missing lesson ideas can be filled using our short-term memory.

  • Hand-written notes are better than laptops as the latter can be distracting, with students checking email or playing games. It also distracts nearby students.

  • Laptop notes are inferior as they are verbatim and shallow.

  • Hand-written notes are well-thought-out, summarized and have a lot of graphic information that is missing from laptop notes.
Mental shortcuts

We’re not nearly as rational as we like to believe. When we face an uncertain situation, we fail to evaluate the information or to look up relevant statistics carefully.
Instead, we depen...

Smart people and biases

We often assume that intelligence guards against bias. Its why those with higher S.A.T. scores think they are less likely to make universal thinking mistakes.

However, smarter people are more vulnerable to these thinking errors.

Biases and human intelligence
  • People who are aware of their own biases are not better able to overcome them. Our intuitive thinking is just as prone to overconfidence, extreme predictions, and the planning fallacy.
  • According to scientists, intelligent people have a larger bias blind spot. They can spot systematic flaws in others, but not in themselves. They will excuse their own minds but harshly judge the minds of other people. 

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Microbes

Research found the following difference in stomach microbes of different individuals:

  • Intestinal microbes of people living in villages, having a natural diet, are much more complex, and ...
Wrong Baseline Data

Due to the new kinds of microbes discovered in villagers, all the previous research on diet and microbes, which used the baseline data of the Western civilization microbe, thought to be the healthy and normal microbe, is now incorrect. 

Digesting Fibre

The Western world has stomach microbial communities that could digest junk food and might re-diversify and recover (to a limited extent) if we just ate more whole grains and veggies.

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The Way Therapy Works
There is growing research on how therapy actually works. Psychological communication, dialogue, and intervention can work even better than pills.
This seems eve...
Therapy Techniques
  • Some therapists are just there to listen and provide a backdrop.
  • Even the silence that they exhibit seems to kindle the patients into divulging more of their most uncomfortable truths.
  • Others keep the sequence of assignments and tests lined up, never pausing.
  • Therapists play varied roles to get some valuable information out of the patient and make him better.
Therapy That Works

No particular form of therapy is proven to be better or more effective than others.

Different people prefer or respond to different forms of therapy.

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Jordan Peterson Writing Template
Jordan Peterson Writing Template
Jordan Peterson, a psychology professor at The University of Toronto, created a template for his students that takes them step by step through the detailed process of writing an essay.  
Jordan Peterson
Jordan Peterson
"Thinking makes you act effectively in the world.  Thinking makes you win the battles you undertake...If you can think and speak and write you are absolutely deadly!  NOTHING can get in your way.  That's why you learn to write...It's the most powerful weapon you can possibly provide someone with."
The Levels of Resolution

An essay exists at multiple levels:

  • The choice of words
  • The formation of sentences
  • The arrangement of sentences in a paragraph
  • The arrangement of paragraphs in a logical progression, beginning to end
  • The essay as a whole

A good essay works at every one of those levels simultaneously.

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Not fitting in
Not fitting in

Some people credit their creative successes to being loners or rebels.

Research conducted discovered that rejection and creativity were related, but only when participants had an independ...

Circumstances that promote creativity
  • Creative types of people, such as artists and writers, are more likely to be considered "odd or peculiar" as children.
  • Being considered "weird" in your culture can also raise an element of creativity called integrative complexity. Outsiders are less concerned with what the in-crowd thinks, so have more leeway to experiment. They are freer to innovate and change social norms.
  • Unusual experiences may boost creativity. People often report having breakthroughs after extreme adventures that interferes with rules and expectations.
Dissenting viewpoints

Unusual viewpoints can boost the decision-making power of a broader group.

Experiments reveal that people are more willing to conform when they are in a group for fear of being seen as peculiar. However, when someone is willing to stand out, the dissenter appears to give the others permission to disagree.

Emotional crying

Charles Darwin once declared emotional tears "purposeless."

Humans are the only creatures whose tears are not only a result of pain or irritation but can be triggered by their feelings. Emo...

A range of feelings

Crying is more than a symptom of sadness. It can also be triggered by empathy, surprise, anger, or grief.

Competing theories
  • Some ludicrous theories are that humans evolved from aquatic apes and tears helped humans to live in saltwater.
  • Others persist that crying removes toxic substances from the blood that builds up during times of stress.
  • More plausible theories are that tears trigger social bonding and human connection.
  • Crying signals that there's some important problem that is at least temporarily beyond your ability to cope.
  • Tears show others that we're vulnerable, which is critical to human connection.
  • Crying is also used in manipulating others.

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Living in the age o doubt
Living in the age o doubt

We live in a time when all scientific knowledge (the safety of fluoride, vaccines, climate change, moon landing, etc.) faces coordinated and vehement resistance.

The acces...

We now face risks we can’t easily analyze

Our existence is invaded by science and technology as never before. For many of us, this brings comfort and rewards, but this existence is also more complicated and sometimes agitated.

Our lives are full of real and imaginary risks, and distinguishing between them isn’t easy. We have to be able to decide what to believe and how to act on that.

Marcia McNutt  - Geophysicist
Marcia McNutt - Geophysicist

“Science is not a body of facts. Science is a method for deciding whether what we choose to believe has a basis in the laws of nature or not.”

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