You’re biased about your biases. “We judge whether we have a bias by examining our thoughts, and because we believe our thoughts are rational, we often think we’re not biased when we are... And the more we convince ourselves that we don’t have certain biases, the more likely we are to exhibit them.” [Nautilus]
We need science more than ever, yet many people find it hard to get accurate information about the scientific method and its achievements. Making things more difficult, their misconceptions about science are often driven by logical fallacies, or errors in deductive reasoning. Here are eight of the most common…
At the moment when bullets were being fired into JFK's motorcade, a man can be seen standing on the side of the road near the car holding an open black umbrella. But it wasn't raining. This is exactly the kind of detail that sets a fire under conspiracy theorists — and here's why.
Hey look. There's an object on Mars that, from a certain vantage point, looks just like a squirrel. Must be a space-squirrel, right?
The perfect is the enemy of the good. We know that phrase very well. What the Einstellung Effect proves is the good can be a real enemy of the even better. When we have a solution that's good, we can't begin to think about a better one.
Ever notice that you spend a full 15 minutes agonizing about whether to have apple-cinnamon pancakes or banana-walnut pancakes in the morning? Ever had that decision affect your day in any way? Fredkin's Paradox explains why you agonize anyway.
We've all been taken in by "bargains" in a supermarket that sell us more stuff than we can possibly use by giving us a bargain price on bulk food. When it comes to real life issues, we do exactly the opposite. Offer us the bargain of a lifetime, and we just don't take it.
Let's say you've got a set of studies on the same subject, and they all yield very similar results. They must be showing an accurate answer, right? Nope. Precision and accuracy are not anywhere near the same thing. Mixing them up could get you in real trouble.
Ever come out of a meeting knowing that no person there has the slightest bit more information than they went in with? Of course you have. There's a documented reason why this is very likely to happen.
Humans have a remarkable ability to see patterns where none exist. In the hot-hand phenomenon we perceive streaks of wins or losses where the data, in truth, are random. New research shows that monkeys are subject to the same bias, which might suggest that the bias is evolutionarily adaptive, and maybe even rational.
So after you got up this morning, had some waffles, and murdered your neighbor, how did you get away from the scene? Did you walk or did you take your car? Answering this question might lead to incarceration due to the Recency Principle.
Selective perception describes the phenomenon of only seeing what we want to see. This bias is most glaring when a large group of people see the same events - like a television show.
Do you believe you've finally shed the illusions of youth? That you've struggled, and changed, and become a different person? You're half right. One of the most persistent personal illusions is the End of History Illusion — and that might be a very good thing.
Why do you come out of the weekends wondering why your wallet is so unaccountably empty? There are a lot of reasons, but the most telling is evocatively called the "what-the-hell" effect.
We all know the story. The moment that computers with their lightning-quick processing power and interlinked systems gain sentience - it's judgment day. But would that really happen? Here are some psychological reasons why digital super-intelligence isn't going to be evil intelligence.
Are you comfortable with uncertainty? Are you willing to take money from those who aren't comfortable with it? Then I have just the rigged game for you! Make money from people's uncertainties with the Ambiguity Effect.
An odd experiment, done by a believer in paranormal phenomena, opens a few questions about how everyone perceives the world. We know that belief can blind people – but can disbelief do the same thing?
Have you ever had to talk out a decision in a big meeting? Did the meeting take forever and accomplish nothing? Here's why.
Naive cynicism is a cognitive bias, and a particularly tough one to argue against. It's blamed for all kinds of trouble in the real world. Could it also be a problem when creating fictional worlds?
When we are choosing which action to take, one of the most basic calculations which guide us is, "How likely is it to lead to one option or another." We need to think of all possible outcomes, and the rough probability of each one occurring. There is a problem with this. We are not great at assessing probability. …