[ExI] cognitive errors - again

Dan TheBookMan danust2012 at gmail.com
Mon Mar 2 23:30:53 UTC 2020

Many cognitive errors such as cognitive biases seem like heuristics that work well in many circumstances (often in the past) or seem like kludges. I doubt many of these are set in stone in the genome. It’s more like there’s a default setting that training or learning can overcome. For instance, by default, people seem bad at statistical reasoning, but they expend effort and learn to overcome this default setting. (An example? The availability bias. That seems to work well in some circumstances — one bad recent encounter with, say, a barking dog might make one wary of dogs.)

Some of these defaults seem to have strong survival value — like perceptual biases. Mistaking a bush for a bear is better than the opposite mistake and in low information conditions or rapid decision-making a bias might be better than no bias.


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> On Mar 2, 2020, at 2:56 PM, William Flynn Wallace via extropy-chat <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
> Esp. to John, but to everybody:
> I keep reading the evolution just cobbles together the best thing it can with the materials at hand and the thing may not be the perfect thing.
> So - how do we explain irrationality and the very numerous errors in thinking, none of which seem to be supportive of survival?  Aside from protecting the ego in certain instances, it would seem that distortion of reality works against survival.  Eh?
> bill w
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