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Qiaochu_Yuan comments on "Flinching away from truth” is often about *protecting* the epistemology - Less Wrong

74 Post author: AnnaSalamon 20 December 2016 06:39PM

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Comment author: Qiaochu_Yuan 20 December 2016 08:37:00PM 7 points [-]

I'm actually surprised that Cognitive Biases are focused on to a greater degree than Cognitive Distortions are in the rational community (based on google-phrase search on site:lesswrong.com), especially when Kahneman writes more or less in Thinking: Fast and Slow that being aware of cognitive biases has not made him that much better at countering them (IIRC) while CBT techniques are regularly used in therapy sessions to alleviate depression, anxiety, etc. Sometimes as effectively as in a single session.

The concept of cognitive biases is sort of like training wheels; I continue teaching people about them (at SPARC, say) as a first step on the path to getting them to recognize that they can question the outputs of their brain processes. It helps make things feel a lot less woo to be able to point to a bunch of studies clearly confirming that some cognitive bias exists, at first. And once you've internalized that things like cognitive biases exist I think it's a lot easier to then move on to other more helpful things, at least for a certain kind of a person (like me; this is the path I took historically).