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  1. On Human Nature IV

    It can be very difficult to change a persons mind. In my last post I described an experiment where people in one experimental group were given an adage that was false but told it was true. Upon revealing that the adage was false, many participants had a hard time accepting that and would find ways to cognitively justify it as truth despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Belief-persistence is a strong phenomena fed by a self-confirmation bias where people look for information that supports what they believe, while discounting information that supports the opposition. Our brains are on the lookout for this belief confirming evidence all the time for most of the things we believe. One of our brains primary jobs is to look for patterns; ...
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  2. On Human Nature III

    In many cases, when we see the results of a study or hear an adage, we have a tendency to connect the dots and say to ourselves (and frequently others as well) "I knew it all along" or "that's obvious." However, people actually most often did not know it all along. I will take a common adage "birds of a feather flock together" and it's opposite, also an adage "opposites attract". Statistically speaking there are three options: one is true or both happen in equal proportions. However, when we think we see an example of one we tend to think it is obvious, likewise for the other. As it turns out birds of a feather have a far greater statistical likelihood, and opposites do not attract. Studies were ...
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  3. On Human Nature II

    Along with the inverse negative relationship between expertise and perceived expertise, people have a strong tendency to underestimate how long it will take to complete most tasks. As expertise in a field grows, the ability predict how long a task takes gets better, but only marginally. Many engineering firms (software, civil, aerospace, etc.) will take their top engineers estimates for the length of time to complete a project and then add 30% to 60% depending on the skill of the individuals or groups working on the task. Another method employed by firms to refine predictions is called "unpacking". By taking the task, breaking it into individual components, and then estimating the length of time to complete each component, we ...
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  4. On Human Nature I

    It is a well understood fact that the less people understand and know a topic, the larger their overestimation of their own skill or understanding in that topic will be. Eventually, when people become an expert on a topic, they tend to underestimate their knowledge, skill, and understanding in that topic. Needless to say most people are less than expert at most topics; be careful of who you listen to.
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  5. You heard it here first folks

    Blogs from small-ish niche sites devoted to commentary and opinion are now certifiable sources of breaking anonymous journalism.....


    Nah just kidding. But looks legit right?
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