July 6

Going Mental

Sunday’s Big Idea

Cognitive Overconfidence

Daniel Kahneman has shown us how we're often confident in our intuitive judgments even when we have no idea what we're doing. And to make matters worse, we tend to evaluate the reliability of other people's decision making on the same basis - if they're confident, they must know what they're talking about.

In today's lesson David Ropeik argues that our cognitive hubris allows us to think that we’re smarter than we actually are, to stubbornly deny the overwhelming evidence that human cognition is in fact a messy subjective mix of facts and feelings, intellect and instinct, reason and gut reaction. Pure, objective, analytical ‘just-the-facts’ Cartesian reason is a wonderful goal – “God’s crowning gift to man” as Sophocles put it – but it’s an unachievable myth. And believing in it is dangerous.

  1. 1 Dealing With the Danger of Cognit...
  2. 2 You're So Predictable. Daniel Kah...
  3. 3 What Rats Can Teach Us About Conf...
  4. 4 Slow Down, You Think Too Fast
   
  1. Dealing With the Danger of Cognitive Hubris

    Dealing With the Danger of Cognitive Hubris

    Smug confidence in human reason, and the belief that once fully educated and informed people will then make the objectively ‘right’ decision about risk, only widens the gap and increases the danger.

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  2. You're So Predictable. Daniel Kahneman and the Science of Human Fallibility

    You're So Predictable. Daniel Kahneman and the Science of Human Fallibility

    Above all else, Kahneman’s legacy will be a precise, empirical reminder of our own fallibility, and a roadmap of the cognitive traps to which we're most vulnerable. 

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  3. What Rats Can Teach Us About Confidence

    What Rats Can Teach Us About Confidence

    Kepecs uses rats to study the neurology of decision-making because their brains are evolutionarily similar to ours but much simpler. Likewise, if you wanted to learn how cars worked, you wouldn’t study a complicated Lexus; you’d study a Model T.

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  4. Slow Down, You Think Too Fast

    Slow Down, You Think Too Fast

    Confidence is a mark of intuitive thinking regardless of whether intuitive thinking is expert intuitive thinking or heuristic intuitive thinking.

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