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How to Avoid the Natural Reactions that Prevent Good Decision Making

How to Avoid the Natural Reactions that Prevent Good Decision Making
Related:  Mini LessonsCognitive Bias

What Bill Clinton Wrote vs. What Bill Clinton Said - Politics If you were following any journalists on Twitter last night, one of the most remarked upon aspects of Bill Clinton's nomination speech was how liberally he deviated from the prepared text. What was handed out to the media was four pages of single-spaced, small font text, but — as an exasperated TelePrompTer operator found out —that was really just a guideline to what Clinton actually wanted to say during his 49-minute address. We decided to compare the two versions to see how one of the great speechmakers of his era goes about his business. Most experienced public speakers know how to deviate and alter and add flourishes to their prepared remarks on the fly, but few do it as well as Clinton. White House sources say they edited the speech for length and that Clinton ignored their changes, but most of the major additions seemed to be throwaway lines or personal asides. There was one flub, however, when he inadvertently referred to second lady Jill Biden as "Joe." Now, Mr. So Who's right?

Your Evolved Intuitions Part of the sequence: Rationality and Philosophy We have already examined one source of our intuitions: attribute substitution heuristics. Today we examine a second source of our intuitions: biological evolution. Evolutionary psychology Evolutionary psychology1 has been covered on Less Wrong many times before, but let's review anyway. Lions walk on four legs and hunt for food. Certain evolved psychological mechanisms in humans are part of what makes us like each other and not like lions, skunks, and spiders. These mechanisms evolved to solve specific adaptive problems. An an example of evolutionary psychology at work, consider the 'hunter-gatherer hypothesis' that men evolved psychological mechanisms to aid in hunting, while women evolved psychological mechanisms to aid in gathering.6 This hypothesis leads to a list of bold predictions. And as it turns out, all these predictions are correct.7 (And no, evolutionary psychologists do not only offer 'postdictions' or 'just so' stories. Notes

The Surprising Secret to Selling Yourself - Heidi Grant Halvorson by Heidi Grant Halvorson | 8:00 AM August 29, 2012 There is no shortage of advice out there on how to make a good impression — an impression good enough to land you a new job, score a promotion, or bring in that lucrative sales lead. Practice your pitch. Speak confidently, but not too quickly. As it happens, it isn’t. A set of ingenious studies conducted by Stanford’s Zakary Tormala and Jayson Jia, and Harvard Business School’s Michael Norton paint a very clear picture of our unconscious preference for potential over actual success. In one study, they asked participants to play the role of an NBA team manager who had the option of offering a contract to a particular player. Then the “managers” were asked, “What would you pay him in his sixth year?” Tormala, Jia, and Norton found the same pattern when they looked at evaluations of job candidates. And this is not, incidentally, a pro-youth bias in disguise.

5 Logical Fallacies That Make You Wrong More Than You Think The Internet has introduced a golden age of ill-informed arguments. You can't post a video of an adorable kitten without a raging debate about pet issues spawning in the comment section. These days, everyone is a pundit. But with all those different perspectives on important issues flying around, you'd think we'd be getting smarter and more informed. Unfortunately, the very wiring of our brains ensures that all these lively debates only make us dumber and more narrow-minded. #5. Think about the last time you ran into a coworker or family member spouting some easily disproven conspiracy theory -- somebody who still thinks Obama's birth certificate is a fake or that Dick Cheney arranged 9/11 to cover up his theft of $2.3 trillion from the government. That has literally never happened in the history of human conversation. Getty"OK, so Dick Cheney doesn't have a third arm. The Science: Getty"Check it out, you guys, Carl has something called 'Loose Change' loaded up on his iPhone." #4. #3.

Top 15 Manipulated Photographs Images have become the mainstay of our experience of historical events and occasionally people have felt the need to manipulate those images to support their views or manipulate the truth. Since the advent of the Internet, we are now also seeing a large number of “photoshopped” images created for humor or popularity. This is a list of 15 of the most famous manipulated images. These images are shown in no particular order. Click images for a larger view. 15. This digital composite of Olympic ice skaters Tanya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan appeared on the cover of New York Newsday. 14. In the summer of 1994, O.J. 13. Helicopter Shark is a composition of two photographs that gives the impression that a Great white shark is leaping out of the water attacking military personnel climbing a suspended ladder attached to a special forces UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. 12. Soon after Sept 11th, 2001, this picture was clogging everyone’s e-mails. 11. 10. 9. 8. 2006 Lebanon War Photographs 7. 6. 5. 4.

The Ten Most Revealing Psych Experiments Psychology is the study of the human mind and mental processes in relation to human behaviors - human nature. Due to its subject matter, psychology is not considered a 'hard' science, even though psychologists do experiment and publish their findings in respected journals. Some of the experiments psychologists have conducted over the years reveal things about the way we humans think and behave that we might not want to embrace, but which can at least help keep us humble. That's something. 1. The Robbers Cave Experiment is a classic social psychology experiment conducted with two groups of 11-year old boys at a state park in Oklahoma, and demonstrates just how easily an exclusive group identity is adopted and how quickly the group can degenerate into prejudice and antagonism toward outsiders. Researcher Muzafer Sherif actually conducted a series of 3 experiments. 2. The prisoners rebelled on the second day, and the reaction of the guards was swift and brutal. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

For Teachers Do you want to use Gapminder tools in your classroom? Check out all our resources on this page and the downloads page to get started. For more info, contact our educational staff at and . Featured examples of Gapminder in education Teachers TV: Looking at statistics with Year 8 students[Javascript required to view Flash movie, please turn it on and refresh this page]Thanks to: Bob LangGapminder and Worldmapper Geography for a changing world resources from the Geographical Association, UK.Thanks to: Paula CooperGapminder course at the NYC iSchool An experimental high school course that challenges 10th and 11th grade students to use a quantitive lens to analyze the last 200 years of global history.Thanks to: Jesse Spevack Featured resources Gapminder Tools Gapminder Tools OfflineYou can use Gapminder Tools without an Internet connection! External resources about Gapminder

Low-Effort Thought Promotes Political Conservatism The authors test the hypothesis that low-effort thought promotes political conservatism. In Study 1, alcohol intoxication was measured among bar patrons; as blood alcohol level increased, so did political conservatism (controlling for sex, education, and political identification). In Study 2, participants under cognitive load reported more conservative attitudes than their no-load counterparts. In Study 3, time pressure increased participants’ endorsement of conservative terms. © 2012 Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.

It's the Inequality, Stupid Want more charts like these? See our charts on the secrets of the jobless recovery, the richest 1 percent of Americans, and how the superwealthy beat the IRS. How Rich Are the Superrich? A huge share of the nation's economic growth over the past 30 years has gone to the top one-hundredth of one percent, who now make an average of $27 million per household. Note: The 2007 data (the most current) doesn't reflect the impact of the housing market crash. Winners Take All The superrich have grabbed the bulk of the past three decades' gains. Download: PDF chart 1 (large) PDF chart 2 (large) | JPG chart 1 (smaller) JPG chart 2 (smaller) Out of Balance A Harvard business prof and a behavioral economist recently asked more than 5,000 Americans how they thought wealth is distributed in the United States. Download: PDF (large) | JPG (smaller) Capitol Gain Why Washington is closer to Wall Street than Main Street. Congressional data from 2009. Download: PDF (large) | JPG (smaller) Who's Winning? Sources

Top 10 Thinking Traps Exposed — How to Foolproof Your Mind, Part II In the first part of this article, we focused on 5 traps that hinder our ability to think rationally. As a quick recap, we discussed: The Anchoring Trap: Over-Relying on First ThoughtsThe Status Quo Trap: Keeping on Keeping OnThe Sunk Cost Trap: Protecting Earlier ChoicesThe Confirmation Trap: Seeing What You Want to SeeThe Incomplete Information Trap: Review Your Assumptions Now it’s time to complete the list and expose the remaining 5 dangerous traps to be avoided. Let’s dive right in. 6. In a series of experiments, researchers asked students in a classroom a series of very simple questions and, sure enough, most of them got the answers right. This “herd instinct” exists — to different degrees — in all of us. This tendency to conform is notoriously exploited in advertising. Conformity is also one of the main reasons why once a book makes into a well-known best-sellers list, it tends to “lock in” and continue there for a long time. What can you do about it? 7. 8. John Riley is a legend.

Charts: The Staggering Cost of Death Row for California Taxpayers California Innocence Project. I recently came across an ambitious infographic created by the California Innocence Project following the failure of state Proposition 34, which, had it passed last November, would have abolished the death penalty in California. Voters weren't quite ready to go there—they rejected Prop. 34 by a 52-48 margin. Yet nearly 6 million Californians voted to do away with capital punishment, the administration of which has been fraught with problems, and which has huge budget implications in a state struggling mightily to fund essentials like public education. The infographic is worth revisiting in light of California's policy on capital punishment remaining status quo. The Innocence Project, a program of California Western Law School that aims to identify wrongfully convicted prisoners and work toward their release, presents the facts here as they apply to California, whose death row population even dwarfs that of Texas. The skewed racial makeup of the condemned:

Top 10 Thinking Traps Exposed Our minds set up many traps for us. Unless we’re aware of them, these traps can seriously hinder our ability to think rationally, leading us to bad reasoning and making stupid decisions. Features of our minds that are meant to help us may, eventually, get us into trouble. Here are the first 5 of the most harmful of these traps and how to avoid each one of them. 1. “Is the population of Turkey greater than 35 million? Lesson: Your starting point can heavily bias your thinking: initial impressions, ideas, estimates or data “anchor” subsequent thoughts. This trap is particularly dangerous as it’s deliberately used in many occasions, such as by experienced salesmen, who will show you a higher-priced item first, “anchoring” that price in your mind, for example. What can you do about it? Always view a problem from different perspectives. 2. In one experiment a group of people were randomly given one of two gifts — half received a decorated mug, the other half a large Swiss chocolate bar. 3. 4.

Why Are We So Afraid of Creativity? Creativity: now there’s a word I thought I wouldn’t see under attack. Don’t we live in a society that thrives on the idea of innovation and creative thought? The age of the entrepreneur, of the man of ideas, of Steve Jobs and the think different motto? Well, yes and no. That is, indisputably yes on the surface. We're not always willing to take the risks that come with innovation. As a general rule, we dislike uncertainty. Creativity, on the other hand, requires novelty. Consider a common paradox: organizations, institutions, and individual decision makers often reject creative ideas even as they state openly that creativity is, to them, an important and sometimes even central goal. As Matthew Pearl reminds us in his new historical thriller, The Technologists (out this week), this general distrust of innovation is nothing new. William Barton Rogers, the founder and first president of MIT. Luckily, we know how this particular story ends.

10 More Common Faults in Human Thought | Listverse Humans This list is a follow up to Top 10 Common Faults in Human Thought. Thanks for everyone’s comments and feedback; you have inspired this second list! It is amazing that with all these biases, people are able to actually have a rational thought every now and then. The confirmation bias is the tendency to look for or interpret information in a way that confirms beliefs. The Availability heuristic is gauging what is more likely based on vivid memories. Illusion of Control is the tendency for individuals to believe they can control or at least influence outcomes that they clearly have no influence on. Interesting Fact: when playing craps in a casino, people will throw the dice hard when they need a high number and soft when they need a low number. The Planning fallacy is the tendency to underestimate the time needed to complete tasks. Interesting Fact: “Realistic pessimism” is a phenomenon where depressed or overly pessimistic people more accurately predict task completion estimations.