Wired for Bias

Snagged from a post by Hemant on a talk given by Dr. Carol Tavris at the The Amazing Meeting 8:

The brain is wired for three particular biases:

1) The bias that we are unbiased
2) The bias that we are smarter, better, kinder, and more competent than average
3) The confirmation bias

Frankly, in my unbiased opinion, I’m smarter, better, kinder and more competent than most people, and I see evidence in support of that conclusion almost everywhere.


4 Responses

  1. Wired for Bias…. it’s like how everybody driving a car thinks they won’t be the one to get in an accident…like, “of COURSE it won’t be ME…”

    Or taken further, it’s like the christians who believe jesus will return in THEIR lifetime. As Bill Maher says, “of course Jesus is gonna return, and he’s gonna wanna meet ME…”

    • Human ego is a wonderful thing.

      I love that Maher line ( even though he doesn’t always deliver it just quite right).

      Let’s PRESUME God exists. Other than sheer ego, what would possibly make somebody think that Jesus, who didn’t have such a good time His first go-round, would want to come back here so quickly? To meet you? To impact/save the world right now just because you are currently living in it? Why not 200 years ago?

      IF God existed, why would he care more about humans than any of His other creations like, say, sea turtles or birds dying in the Gulf of Mexico? Don’t you’d think he’d be at least as likely to come kick our asses for fucking things up so bad and shitting on his creation?

      Nope. God made the world for us to do whatever we want with it. That’s how big our human egos are.

      • I hate to be the one to rain on your sea turtles, but the truth of the matter is that ALL this shit was made for ME.

  2. This “confirmation bias” stuff is quite interesting.

    It’s the reason we get into so much trouble as a society. Wars are launched based upon the notions that “God is on OUR side”, “Of course we will win when others have failed”, or “This is NOT another Vietnam.”

    Another excellent example of bias is the blind faith in The Holy Market. The financial industry sees The Market as a compilation of all the wisdom of financial industry personnel and the investing class as a whole. In other words, The Market is their collective ego. They believe themselves to be much smarter than everybody. Therefore, they can believe in the idiotic notion that “The Market is always right”. Oh sure, there are a few “corrections” from time to time, but that’s just like a Leap Year, a little “re-set” to counter rounding errors and the like.

    Because they have such blind faith (in themselves), they believe there is no need for regulation (of themselves). Even after a complete financial melt-down, they still believe in their innate intelligence and capabilities, to the point where they give themselves huge bonuses and don’t see the problem with it.

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