|Don's Home Health Mental We Are Not Rational|
Daniel Kahneman 2002 Nobel Laureate in Economics for his work in behavioral economics.
Excerpts from Daniel Kahneman -- Why We Contradict Ourselves and Confound Each Other | The On Being Project Podcast
The classic economic theory embedded in western democracies holds an assumption that human beings will almost always behave rationally in the end and make logical choices that will keep our society balanced on the whole. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for showing that this is simply not true.
"When I ask you about something that you believe in -- whether you believe or don't believe in climate change, or whether you believe in some political position or other -- as soon as I raise the question why, you have answers. Reasons come to your mind. But the reasons may have very little to do with the real causes of your beliefs. And we take the reasons that people give for their actions and beliefs, and our own reasons for our actions and beliefs, much too seriously."
" Well, the concept of rationality is a technical, mathematical concept. It's a logic. And it is actually completely not possible for a finite human mind to be rational or to obey the axioms of rationality."
"the kinds of things that behavioral economists are supposed to do, that's really social psychology. It's principles about how to affect behavior. And it is remarkable, and some people find it sad, that social psychology had to disguise itself as economics, before it had an impact on the culture.
Economics has a better brand than psychology."
"I ask you about something that you believe in -- whether you believe or don't believe in climate change, or whether you believe in some political position or other -- as soon as I raise the question why, you have answers. Reasons come to your mind. But the way that I would see this is that the reasons may have very little to do with the real causes of your beliefs.
They're rooted in who are the people that you trusted and what they seemed to believe in, and it has very little to do with the reasons that come to your mind, why your position is correct and the position of the other side is nonsensical.
It's a game, because even if you did destroy the arguments that people raise for their beliefs, it wouldn't change their beliefs. They would just find other arguments."
We're not logical creatures. And being mad at the other side for not being logical is just not a good use of your rational brain."
The reason people don't change their mind is that facts don't matter, or they matter much less than people think.
"Nothing deep can be done, I think. What can be done is superficial; can be very, very useful. So teaching statistics to the young would be useful. Teaching economics to the young would be useful. Teaching self-critical thinking-- or, better yet, how to criticize other people, because this is more pleasant and more interesting -- those things can be done.
But those are very marginal improvements. When it comes to the big issues, I'm not very optimistic."
"One thing you've also said is that if you had a magic wand, overconfidence is the thing you would banish. Would you explain that?"
Kahneman - "Well, and I did say that, but I'm not sure I was right. But what I meant to say was that when you look globally at people's actions, overconfidence is endemic. I mean, we have too much confidence in our beliefs. And overconfidence really is associated with a failure of imagination. When you cannot imagine an alternative to your belief, you are convinced that your belief is true."
You mention error, people are very likely to say, "What's the bias that caused it?
But in fact, it need not be a bias. A lot of error is random, and there is a radical underestimation of the amount of random error in people's thinking.
I have been shifting positions all my life. I like changing my mind, and I look for ways of changing my mind. And this is what I'm doing now, in questioning the importance of biases.
Irrrational-beliefs - Why Smart People Still Believe Conspiracy Theories