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What is a Useful Perception of Reality

It’s more important to have a useful perception of reality than an accurate perception of reality. 

But of course, in many cases, an accurate perception of reality is a useful perception of reality.  And so it’s important to try to figure out what reality actually looks like and to try to cut through the illusions and to try to cut through your biases and make sure that you’re not, for instance, confusing correlation for causation. 

If it looks like A caused B, did A really cause B or is there something else that may have caused both? Try to think of other hypotheses.  

Another mistake that we tend to make is to selectively look at evidence or to use motivated reasoning.  So if you cherry-pick things in your environment that pop out at you and tend to support things that you already believe or things that you want to believe, then maybe you should try to find disconfirming evidence. 

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

 

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