Why smart people make stupid choices
Material posted: Publication date: 10-08-2020
How high is your intelligence? When it comes to making the right decisions, IQ doesn't matter, because even the brightest minds do stupid things. Intelligence and the ability to rational thinking are two different things. It is the ability to rational thinking is an important factor in making the right decisions.

IQ tests designed to measure General intelligence, is good for measuring some cognitive abilities such as logic and abstract thinking. However, they are not suitable to measure the talents required for the formation of correct judgments in real life. For example, they do not appreciate our ability to weigh the information or how well we overcome the cognitive biases that mislead us.

Try to solve the mystery. 5 machines 5 minutes to produce 5 items. How long will 100 machines to produce 100 items? Most people instinctively choose the wrong answer that feels right – 100 minutes – even if later they change it to the correct 5 minutes. When researchers asked this and two similar question thousands of students of colleges and universities, including Harvard and Princeton, only 17% answered all three questions correctly. A third of students were not able to give any correct answer.

Here's another puzzle: Jack is looking at Anne but Anne is looking at George. Jack is married and George is not. If there are any people, married looking at unmarried? Possible answers: "Yes", "no" or "impossible to determine". Most people will answer "impossible to determine" just because it's the first option that comes to mind. However, by logical reasoning, we come to the answer "Yes" (we don't know the marital status of Anne, but in any case, people who are married will be looking for unmarried or unmarried person).

Every day we are faced with similar problems in various forms. And regardless of our intelligence, we are often wrong. Why? Probably because our brain uses two different systems for processing information. One of them is responsible for logical thinking and reasoning, the other is intuitive and impulsive. Processing information, we default use our intuition. And she often helps us, for example, when you choose a partner or in situations where you already have a lot of experience. But it can also confuse us, for example, when we are faced with cognitive distortions, such as stereotypes or the tendency to trust information that confirms our own opinions.

Here are a few striking examples of cognitive distortions. Watch how many of them you make during the day (but remember that the very existence of these distortions may prevent you to find them).

The Effect Of Dunning-Kruger

It is the tendency of people mistakenly to overestimate their competence – people with low skill levels often make bad decisions and fail to realize their mistakes due to the low level of their qualifications.

The effect of Dunning-Kruger is a close relative to the effect of "better than average" – a statistical impossibility effect, according to which the majority of people rate themselves above the average person. There is also the opposite effect, known as the impostor syndrome, when a competent person is not able to attribute their achievement to their own qualities, abilities and efforts.

Effect of possession

The tendency of man to appreciate those things that he already owns.
"If I get in some cheap shop ashtray and paying to put it in her pocket as she becomes an unusual ashtray, different from all others because it's mine," wrote Ayn Rand in her novel "the Source". This feeling is typical for all people. Because of him, we take irrational decisions, for example, refuse to exchange the item for something more valuable. The effect of tenure is one of the reasons why a potential buyer of your old car doesn't pay what it's worth in your opinion.

Hyperbolic discounting

Opting to get something now than something more valuable in the future.
If you had a choice – to 500 rubles today or 1000 rubles tomorrow, then obviously you would choose the latter. But the longer the waiting time, the less attractive this choice becomes. Will you wait a year to get 1000 rubles? With the increase of time waiting for a quick reward becomes all the more tempting. This effect is one of the reasons why we do not think about pension savings. But closer to retirement suddenly "the future" is not so far away, and the choice of the immediate reward turns against us.

Deviation in the direction of the status quo

The human tendency to desire things remained approximately the same, and think that any change is loss.

This distortion is due to our desire to be in familiar surroundings and with the fact that we are more sorry about bad results due to new actions than on negative consequences of inaction. This is one of the reasons the person continues to drink coke, although the result of the blind test, it turns out that he actually prefers a different brand (as happened in the experiment of Pepsi).

Blind spot distortions

Effect, because of which the person notes the influence of cognitive biases on other people, but not aware of this influence your judgment.

If you are prone to it (which is certainly true), you are not alone. Everyone thinks they are less biased than others. This effect is associated with the human tendency to see themselves in a positive light.

The gambler's fallacy

The mistaken belief that if something occurred more often in the future it will happen less often.

Distortion is also known as a "false conclusion Monte Carlo" – so named because of the famous incident at the casino in 1913. For one of the games of the roulette tables at the casino Monte Carlo, the ball stopped on black 26 times in a row, as a result, the players who have decided that the next time will drop red, lost millions. In fact, the chances were 50 to 50.

The article is based on the book The Brain: A user's guide magazine New Scientist.

Source: https://habr.com/ru/post/514296/

Tags: analytical work