Why Confidence Is Hazardous
Confidence in our own decision making abilities can be amazingly misplaced but remain strong even in the face of evidence that clearly shows the decisions we make are wrong.
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Confidence is a feeling, not an objective evaluation of facts. Daniel Kahneman, Princeton psychology professor and Nobel Laureate in economics, learned this first hand when he obtained data on the success rates of individual traders working for financial investments firms on the behalf of very wealthy clients. The firms used the data to calculate year-end bonuses so success was clearly associated with having skill. But Kahneman found that the traders' success was due almost entirely to luck.
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Despite Kahneman's findings, neither traders nor their superiors were shaken in their belief that stock trading is a skill and that some traders are better at it than others. "The confidence we experience as we make a judgment is not a reasoned evaluation of the probability that it is right. Confidence is a feeling, one determined mostly by the coherence of the story and by the ease with which it comes to mind, even when the evidence for the story is sparse and unreliable," says Kahneman.
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How you talk to people with drug addiction might save their life.
- Addiction is a learning disorder; it's not a sign that someone is a bad person.
- Tough love doesn't help drug-addicted people. Research shows that the best way to get people help is through compassion, empathy and support. Approach them as an equal human being deserving of respect.
- As a first step to recovery, Maia Szalavitz recommends the family or friends of people with addiction get them a complete psychiatric evaluation by somebody who is not affiliated with any treatment organization. Unfortunately, warns Szalavitz, some people will try to make a profit off of an addicted person without informing them of their full options.
Meanwhile, Spaniards are the least likely to say their culture is superior to others.
- Survey by Pew Research Center shows great variation in chauvinism across Europe.
- Eight most chauvinist countries are in the east, and include Russia.
- British much more likely than French (and slightly more likely than Germans) to say their culture is "superior" to others.
China's Chang'e 4 biosphere experiment marks a first for humankind.
- China's Chang'e 4 lunar lander touched down on the far side of the moon on January 3.
- In addition to a lunar rover, the lander carried a biosphere experiment that contains five sets of plants and some insects.
- The experiment is designed to test how astronauts might someday grow plants in space to sustain long-term settlements.
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