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ricketybridge comments on Knowing About Biases Can Hurt People - Less Wrong

71 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 04 April 2007 06:01PM

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Comment author: ricketybridge 09 January 2013 01:56:39AM 3 points [-]

Given the unbelievable difficulty in overcoming cognitive bias (mentioned in this article and many others), is it even realistic to expect that it's possible? Maybe there are a lucky few who may have that capacity, but what about a majority of even those with above-average intelligence, even after years of work at it? Would most of them not just sort of drill themselves into a deeper hole of irrationality? Even discussing their thoughts with others would be of no help, given the fact that most others will be afflicted with cognitive biases as well. Since this blog is devoted to precisely that effort (i.e. helping people become more rational), I would think that those who write posts here must have reason to believe that it is indeed quite possible, but do you have any examples of such improvement? Have any scientists done any studies on overcoming cognitive bias? The ones I've seen only show that being aware of cognitive bias barely removes its effects.

It almost seems like the only way to truly overcome cognitive biases is to do something like design a computer program based on something you know for sure you're not biased about (e.g. statistics that people formed correct opinions about in various experiments) and then run it for something you are likely to be biased about.

I apologize if there are already a bunch of posts (or even comments!) answering this question; I've been on the site like all day and haven't come across any, so I figured it couldn't hurt to ask.

Comment author: orthonormal 24 March 2013 10:27:25PM 2 points [-]

My main takeaway from this is that "I know about this bias, therefore I'm more immune to it" is wrong. To be less susceptible to a bias, you need to practice habits that help (like the premortem as a counter to the planning fallacy), not just know a lot of cognitive science.