I deleted the previous post. There is more value to this scientific research and the process that they underwent to come up with their conclusions than the most people here give it credit for.
On June 13 2012 12:20 Masvidal wrote: They aren't trick questions. They are questions of simple arithmetic. How can you read them and get them wrong? It's as simple as reading simple conditions and doing the basic math. I don't understand how any normal thought process could arrive at a different answer, unless the person in question lacks an understanding of basic math.
On June 13 2012 12:12 Probe1 wrote: Well, I read your entire post and thought about writing an amusing jibe about your post being evidentiary proof of their findings but I decided to take the high road and research the material you quipped from. There are no public domain copies of the findings in detail. This thread is actually the 8th search result on google.
I would offer opinions when someone springs for the $11.99 copy and I can read the study in full then come to my own conclusion instead of extrapolating from the abstract.
I saw your post before the ninja edit. Maybe the study has more credit that we realize.
The so-called bias blind spot arises when people report that thinking biases are more prevalent in others than in themselves. Bias turns out to be relatively easy to recognize in the behaviors of others, but often difficult to detect in one's own judgments. Most previous research on the bias blind spot has focused on bias in the social domain. In 2 studies, we found replicable bias blind spots with respect to many of the classic cognitive biases studied in the heuristics and biases literature (e.g., Tversky & Kahneman, 1974). Further, we found that none of these bias blind spots were attenuated by measures of cognitive sophistication such as cognitive ability or thinking dispositions related to bias. If anything, a larger bias blind spot was associated with higher cognitive ability. Additional analyses indicated that being free of the bias blind spot does not help a person avoid the actual classic cognitive biases. We discuss these findings in terms of a generic dual-process theory of cognition. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).
Apologies for the title, but I had to be limited by character limit. The title should have been: The Smarter People Get, The More Prone They Are to Cognitive Bias
We have always assumed that homo sapiens are rational. Logically, the more people know (READ: the more degrees are attached to their names), the easier and moer efficient people should get around with problems.
But a recent scientific research published at Journal of Personality and Social Psychology proves this notion on human intelligence is the opposite of it really is. The scientific study suggests that, in many instances, smarter people are more vulnerable to these thinking errors. Although we assume that intelligence is a buffer against bias—that’s why those with higher S.A.T. scores think they are less prone to these universal thinking mistakes—it can actually be a subtle curse.
West and his colleagues began by giving four hundred and eighty-two undergraduates a questionnaire featuring a variety of classic bias problems. Here’s a example:
In a lake, there is a patch of lily pads. Every day, the patch doubles in size. If it takes 48 days for the patch to cover the entire lake, how long would it take for the patch to cover half of the lake?
Your first response is probably to take a shortcut, and to divide the final answer by half. That leads you to twenty-four days. But that’s wrong. The correct solution is forty-seven days.
The results were quite disturbing. For one thing, self-awareness was not particularly useful: as the scientists note, “people who were aware of their own biases were not better able to overcome them.” This finding wouldn’t surprise Kahneman, who admits in “Thinking, Fast and Slow” that his decades of groundbreaking research have failed to significantly improve his own mental performance. “My intuitive thinking is just as prone to overconfidence, extreme predictions, and the planning fallacy”—a tendency to underestimate how long it will take to complete a task—“as it was before I made a study of these issues,” he writes.
And here’s the upsetting punch line: intelligence seems to make things worse. The scientists gave the students four measures of “cognitive sophistication.” As they report in the paper, all four of the measures showed positive correlations, “indicating that more cognitively sophisticated participants showed larger bias blind spots.” This trend held for many of the specific biases, indicating that smarter people and those more likely to engage in deliberation were slightly more vulnerable to common mental mistakes. Education also isn’t a savior; as Kahneman and Shane Frederick first noted many years ago, more than fifty per cent of students at Harvard, Princeton, and M.I.T. gave the incorrect answer to the bat-and-ball question. (See question below.)
What explains this result? One provocative hypothesis is that the bias blind spot arises because of a mismatch between how we evaluate others and how we evaluate ourselves. When considering the irrational choices of a stranger, for instance, we are forced to rely on behavioral information; we see their biases from the outside, which allows us to glimpse their systematic thinking errors. However, when assessing our own bad choices, we tend to engage in elaborate introspection. We scrutinize our motivations and search for relevant reasons; we lament our mistakes to therapists and ruminate on the beliefs that led us astray.
The problem with this introspective approach is that the driving forces behind biases—the root causes of our irrationality—are largely unconscious, which means they remain invisible to self-analysis and impermeable to intelligence. In fact, introspection can actually compound the error, blinding us to those primal processes responsible for many of our everyday failings. We spin eloquent stories, but these stories miss the point. The more we attempt to know ourselves, the less we actually understand. What do you think guys?
BAT AND BALL QUESTION (Please reply with your answer, and please answer as spontaneously as possible.) A bat and ball cost a dollar and ten cents. The bat costs a dollar more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?
Lets go with ego. Let me explain: Smart people know they are smart. They also want to answer the question in the least amount of time, and get on with doing things they deem more important. Some might even be lazy, and assume their intuition is powerful enough to get the right answer right away. Therefore, the hop to a reasonably justifiable conclusion using bits and pieces of data to support what they think the answer should be.
IamBach United States. June 13 2012 13:24. Posts 1058
The punctuation in the Bat and ball question is fine... All I can say is that maybe I am really smart because I am so bad with questions like that... However, I am probably just extra stupid. EDIT: Thanks for the title change.
Last edit: 2012-06-13 13:27:30
Just listen http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__lCZeePG48
x + x + 1 = 1.1 2x + 1 = 1.1 2x=.1 x=.05 x= ball = 5 cents x +1 = bat = 1 dollar 5 cents
But that aside. Cognitive biases have been known for a while. In the end people generally will not be persuaded by logic alone but will fish for rationales that conform to their own positions. Being smart has nothing to do with getting past this problem. Dumb or smart, you'll be biased. It's really about having the ability to be open to all positions more than anything else.
This is actually one of the reasons I read Fox news and the National Review every now and then. I don't want to unknowingly become pigeon-holed with a blind liberal bias.
Infernal_dream United States. June 13 2012 13:25. Posts 1829
Well clearly none of the degrees attached to their names were math degrees. Some people go their entire lives without advancing far beyond a middle school understanding of math, even if their other areas are exceptionally strong.
Now watch this cleverness: A bat and ball cost a dollar and ten cents. The bat costs a dollar, more than the ball. How much does the ball cost? Suddenly the ball costs 10 cents instead of 5 cents. ****ing commas man. How do they work.