We have a general bias to read intentionality into things, to see things as happening for a reason, to believe that objects around us have been designed for some purpose.
You can become a crazy cat lady if you abandon actual people in your environment and just focus on your pets or your stuffed animals or your live doll or whatever you have.
We have this biased anthropomorphized thing that leads us to treat inanimate objects as alive or to treat things that are alive like pets as if they are more conscious or more intelligent than they actually are. And so you can become a crazy cat lady if you abandon actual people in your environment and just focus on your pets or your stuffed animals or your live doll or whatever you have.
We need to search for disconfirming evidence to correct mistakes.
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 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.
Matthew Hutson is a science journalist and the author of The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking: How Irrational Beliefs Keep Us Happy, Healthy, and Sane. Hutson is a former editor at Psychology Today, has a B.S. in cognitive neuroscience from Brown University and an M.S. in science writing from MIT. He has written for Wired, Discover, Popular Mechanics and The New York Times Magazine.