Happy Friday! 😄
🏋️♂️ I’ve noticed that a lot of cultural analyses these days, put a lot of explanatory weight on cognitive biases. Think: “Because we all these cognitive biases, we make a lot of (reasoning) mistakes, and hence we’re all going to die.”
🏆 Most of you will have heard of the usual suspects — confirmation bias, the bat-and-ball problem, the availability heuristic, and so on. And of Daniel Kahneman’s famous cognitive science papers on those and other errors we make in “judgment under uncertainty” (for which he won the Nobel Prize).
🤔 Indeed, many a psychologist has built a successful career exploring, cataloguing, and attempting to explain the myriad biases supposed to plague human cognition. Yet, contrary this received wisdom, recent studies show that there are reasons to question whether those ‘gotcha’ experiments tell us about human cognition.
✍ In this week’s essay, I go through many fresh cog sci experiments by Valerie Thompson, Wim de Neys, Gordon Pennycook and others to build the case that it’s questionable whether cognitive biases really are such a big factor in what we actually believe and decide.