April 6, 2010

A bit of a list

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 11:57 am

Despite the fact that the vulgarities of life have forced me to pursue an actually marketable career, I maintain an interest in more humanistic areas such as social psychology.  As such, I have become somewhat obsessed with the field of cognitive bias.  Learning to understand the pitfalls of human cognition has helped me in a wide variety of ways.  While much has been written about whether or not we can ever achieve an unbiased rationality, I am convinced there are great benefits to trying.  One sign that you are doing it right is the number of beliefs you previously accepted, but now understand to be false.

Un-learning is an important indicator of meta-cognitive ability.

To wit, I have taken a moment to tick off a few of the things I once believed, but now know to be false:

  1. Acupuncture
  2. Pure supply-side economics (Milton Friedman style)
  3. The idea that:  If it doesn’t matter to me, it isn’t important to me.
  4. Most people have an accurate view of themselves.
  5. The world is getting worse. (Depends on how you look at it.  In many ways it is getting much better.)
  6. That America is the best country in the whole world.  (It might be, depending on how you judge ‘best’, but there are plenty of reasonable measurement systems in which the USA is not #1)
  7. That I was a good dancer.
  8. That if I was very confident about something, I was probably right.
  9. If the people around me thought I was right, I probably was.
  10. That there should be (Christian) prayer in (all) schools.
  11. That if I treated others the way I wanted to be treated, they would reciprocate.

Later, I’ll do an update on things I have learned.

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