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Hindsight Bias

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Hindsight Bias

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  1. Hindsight Bias • Next year (2017), a lot of people might say: “It was obvious that Americans would agree with Trump in sending troops into Iraq, to stop the conflict. America is still the world’s policeman, after all.” • Or would they say: “It was obvious that only black ops special forces and drones would be sent into Iraq, as the American people were tired of paying for foreign wars?” • Hindsight bias is the “I knew it all along phenomenon”. • Blank et al. 2007, reported that some 100 studies have observed hindsight bias in various countries and among both children and adults. (mp16,cp19)

  2. Overconfidence • How long do you think it would take you to unscramble this word? • OCHSA (this one is hard; it breaks English spelling rules). • Tetlock (1998, 2005) suggests most people would say “Ten seconds”.(mp17,cp20) • It usually takes three minutes. • Overconfidence puts our emotions in the right place, but not our thinking.

  3. Overconfidence • Tetlock 2005, reported that he collected 27,000 expert predictions of world events. 80% of the experts were confident; they were right less than 40% of the time. • To compare: hindsight bias is the tendency to believe, after learning an outcome for an event, that we could have predicted it; overconfidence is our feeling that we are guessing correctly before an event occurs. • Can you spot an example of overconfidence in the story of the 'Dybbuk Box'?

  4. Order in Randomness • Random sequences often don't look random. (Falk et al, 2009, Nickerson, 2002, 2005). • Patterns and streaks occur more often than we expect (Oskarsson et al. 2009). • Can you spot an example of perceived order in actual randomness in the story of the 'Dybbuk Box'? • Myers uses a coin toss, but let's do a thought experiment with roulette wheels instead.

  5. Order in Randomness • Abbiati 2013, sells a roulette wheel that is composed of three elements which operate in perfect synergy to assure flatness (non-perturbation) during the operational period (or spin). • That means every spin is disconnected from every other spin, and they have engineers and technicians to prove it. • Check it yourself. Download the pdf and search for 'laser sensors' and 'functional anomalies'. • http://www.abbiati.it/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/2-ABB.-PROFESSIONAL-ROULETTE-WHEELS-V.002-13.pdf • But, gamblers still feel hot streaks!

  6. Overconfidence • Diaconis and Mosteller (1989): “Given a large enough sample, any outrageous thing is likely to happen.”(mp18, cp21). • So, for some of us, an outrageous event will trigger our overconfidence to dangerous, even addictive levels. • We overestimate our intuition, and therefore need scientific enquiry to sift reality from illusion.

  7. Scientific Theory • When we use the word 'theory' in psychology class, we mean something very specific. • A theory is an intellectual tool where we ask questions that can give us practical answers. • A scientific theory must be carefully structured so that it can yield predictions. • A skeptic asks: “Show me how it works.”

  8. Critical Thinking • Examine assumptions • Discern hidden values (or agendas) • Evaluate evidence • Assess conclusions • Let's have Randi visit 'The Ward'

  9. Randi Visits 'The Ward' For your long essay, use Jame’s Randi’s 2007 approach: http://skepdic.com/randi.html What would Randi say about Kristen's claim that the ghost of Alice Hudson stalks the Ward? Let's apply a version of his aura test. First, read the page on Randi Challenge in the Myers’ text. When and where do these ghostly attacks occur? Recreate the situation in an experimental situation, and see the results. So, what is an 'experimental situation'?

  10. Critical Thinking • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s character Sherlock Holmes makes the best case for critical thinking: • 'How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?‘ Doyle 1890, Sign of the Four. • Scientific skeptics can be open to new ideas, humble about their mistakes, and yet use of the power of doubt.

  11. Critical Thinking • End of module Two, next we examine what is meant by the scientific method, and rigorous experimentation.