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Research Shows That the Smarter People Are, the More Susceptible They Are to Cognitive Bias : The New Yorker

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So the real takeaway message is that everyone's got biases, and the more people you expose yourself to the more likely you'll uncover them and maybe possibly somehow grow as a person.

Smarter people are better at justifying their biases.  Might they also be better at refuting and rooting out biases?

Apparently not because their smarts create blind spots.

Here’s a simple arithmetic question: A bat and ball cost a dollar and ten cents. The bat costs a dollar more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?


West and his colleagues began by giving four hundred and eighty-two undergraduates a questionnaire featuring a variety of classic bias problems. Here’s a example:

In a lake, there is a patch of lily pads. Every day, the patch doubles in size. If it takes 48 days for the patch to cover the entire lake, how long would it take for the patch to cover half of the lake?


The results were quite disturbing. For one thing, self-awareness was not particularly useful: as the scientists note, “people who were aware of their own biases were not better able to overcome them.”


Perhaps our most dangerous bias is that we naturally assume that everyone else is more susceptible to thinking errors, a tendency known as the “bias blind spot.” This “meta-bias” is rooted in our ability to spot systematic mistakes in the decisions of others—we excel at noticing the flaws of friends—and inability to spot those same mistakes in ourselves. Although the bias blind spot itself isn’t a new concept, West’s latest paper demonstrates that it applies to every single bias under consideration, from anchoring to so-called “framing effects.” In each instance, we readily forgive our own minds but look harshly upon the minds of other people.

The bias thing reminds me of a Malcolm Gladwell chapter in "Blink."

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