Book 35 on the Kindle. Another biggy. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.
A good and useful book. The idea of the two modes of thought - systems 1 and 2 - seems rather helpful.
On working with a collaborator:
"We were sufficiently similar to understand each other easily, and sufficiently different to surprise each other."
"People tend to assess the relative importance of issues by the ease with which they are retrieved from memory—and this is largely determined by the extent of coverage in the media."
Ten thousand hours all over the place:
"Expert intuition strikes us as magical, but it is not. Indeed, each of us performs feats of intuitive expertise many times each day. Most of us are pitch-perfect in detecting anger in the first word of a telephone call, recognize as we enter a room that we were the subject of the conversation, and quickly react to subtle signs that the driver of the car in the next lane is dangerous. Our everyday intuitive abilities are no less marvelous than the striking insights of an experienced firefighter or physician—only more common."
"The gorilla study illustrates two important facts about our minds: we can be blind to the obvious, and we are also blind to our blindness."
But I was cognitively busy m'lud:
"People who are cognitively busy are also more likely to make selfish choices, use sexist language, and make superficial judgments in social situations."
On the advantages of the familiar and the repeated and the familiar:
"Words that you have seen before become easier to see again—you can identify them better than other words when they are shown very briefly or masked by noise."
"you experience greater cognitive ease in perceiving a word you have seen earlier, and it is this sense of ease that gives you the impression of familiarity."
"The famed psychologist Robert Zajonc dedicated much of his career to the study of the link between the repetition of an arbitrary stimulus and the mild affection that people eventually have for it. Zajonc called it the 'mere exposure' effect"
"Survival prospects are poor for an animal that is not suspicious of novelty. However, it is also adaptive for the initial caution to fade if the stimulus is actually safe. The mere exposure effect occurs, Zajonc claimed, because the repeated exposure of a stimulus is followed by nothing bad. Such a stimulus will eventually become a safety signal, and safety is good."
Well, is he?
"When asked, “Is Sam friendly?” different instances of Sam’s behavior will come to mind than would if you had been asked “Is Sam unfriendly?” A deliberate search for confirming evidence, known as positive test strategy, is also how System 2 tests a hypothesis."
A little knowledge is an easier thing:
"It is the consistency of the information that matters for a good story, not its completeness. Indeed, you will often find that knowing little makes it easier to fit everything you know into a coherent pattern"
Always asking myself these things:
"the main problems that an organism must solve to survive: How are things going? Is there a threat or a major opportunity? Is everything normal? Should I approach or avoid?"
"Random processes produce many sequences that convince people that the process is not random after all."
"“To the untrained eye,” Feller remarks, “randomness appears as regularity or tendency to cluster.”"
Skiing - definitely a bad death:
"He points out that experts often measure risks by the number of lives (or life-years) lost, while the public draws finer distinctions, for example between “good deaths” and “bad deaths,” or between random accidental fatalities and deaths that occur in the course of voluntary activities such as skiing. These legitimate distinctions are often ignored in statistics that merely count cases."
Interesting for policy people:
"Sunstein and a collaborator, the jurist Timur Kuran, invented a name for the mechanism through which biases flow into policy: the availability cascade. They comment that in the social context, “all heuristics are equal, but availability is more equal than the others.”
"They have in mind an expanded notion of the heuristic, in which availability provides a heuristic for judgments other than frequency. In particular, the importance of an idea is often judged by the fluency (and emotional charge) with which that idea comes to mind."
Ooh, I know a bunch of availability entrepeneurs:
"An availability cascade is a self-sustaining chain of events, which may start from media reports of a relatively minor event and lead up to public panic and large-scale government action. On some occasions, a media story about a risk catches the attention of a segment of the public, which becomes aroused and worried. This emotional reaction becomes a story in itself, prompting additional coverage in the media, which in turn produces greater concern and involvement. The cycle is sometimes sped along deliberately by “availability entrepreneurs,” individuals or organizations who work to ensure a continuous flow of worrying news"
On luck and stories:
"Indeed, the statistician David Freedman used to say that if the topic of regression comes up in a criminal or civil trial, the side that must explain regression to the jury will lose the case"
"The explanatory stories that people find compelling are simple; are concrete rather than abstract; assign a larger role to talent, stupidity, and intentions than to luck; and focus on a few striking events that happened rather than on the countless events that failed to happen."
"Good stories provide a simple and coherent account of people’s actions and intentions. You are always ready to interpret behavior as a manifestation of general propensities and personality traits—causes that you can readily match to effects."
Crazy gamblers and outcome bias:
"Although hindsight and the outcome bias generally foster risk aversion, they also bring undeserved rewards to irresponsible risk seekers, such as a general or an entrepreneur who took a crazy gamble and won."
"Everything makes sense in hindsight, a fact that financial pundits exploit every evening as they offer convincing accounts of the day’s events. And we cannot suppress the powerful intuition that what makes sense in hindsight today was predictable yesterday"
Why you see so many hedgehogs on the telly:
"Hedgehogs “know one big thing” and have a theory about the world; they account for particular events within a coherent framework, bristle with impatience toward those who don’t see things their way, and are confident in their forecasts. They are also especially reluctant to admit error. For hedgehogs, a failed prediction is almost always “off only on timing” or “very nearly right.” They are opinionated and clear, which is exactly what television producers love to see on programs. Two hedgehogs on different sides of an issue, each attacking the idiotic ideas of the adversary, make for a good show. Foxes, by contrast, are complex thinkers. They don’t believe that one big thing drives the march of history (for example, they are unlikely to accept the view that Ronald Reagan single-handedly ended the cold war by standing tall against the Soviet Union). Instead the foxes recognize that reality emerges from the interactions of many different agents and forces, including blind luck, often producing large and unpredictable outcomes. It was the foxes who scored best in Tetlock’s study, although their performance was still very poor. They are less likely than hedgehogs to be invited to participate in television debates."
Private thinking first:
"I was following a procedure that we already planned to incorporate into our curriculum: the proper way to elicit information from a group is not by starting with a public discussion but by confidentially collecting each person’s judgment"
"Richer and more realistic assumptions do not suffice to make a theory successful. Scientists use theories as a bag of working tools, and they will not take on the burden of a heavier bag unless the new tools are very useful. Prospect theory was accepted by many scholars not because it is “true” but because the concepts that it added to utility theory, notably the reference point and loss aversion, were worth the trouble;"
The power of the negative comment:
"The psychologist Paul Rozin, an expert on disgust, observed that a single cockroach will completely wreck the appeal of a bowl of cherries, but a cherry will do nothing at all for a bowl of cockroaches. As he points out, the negative trumps the positive in many ways, and loss aversion is one of many manifestations of a broad negativity dominance."
Stop miswanting goods:
"Daniel Gilbert and Timothy Wilson introduced the word miswanting to describe bad choices that arise from errors of affective forecasting. This word deserves to be in everyday language. The focusing illusion (which Gilbert and Wilson call focalism) is a rich source of miswanting. In particular, it makes us prone to exaggerate the effect of significant purchases or changed circumstances on our future well-being. Compare two commitments that will change some aspects of your life: buying a comfortable new car and joining a group that meets weekly, perhaps a poker or book club. Both experiences will be novel and exciting at the start. The crucial difference is that you will eventually pay little attention to the car as you drive it, but you will always attend to the social interaction to which you committed yourself."
"The focusing illusion creates a bias in favor of goods and experiences that are initially exciting, even if they will eventually lose their appeal. Time is neglected, causing experiences that will retain their attention value in the long term to be appreciated less than they deserve to be."