Oct 17, 2012

Just A Few Snippets

When I'm reading a book I'll sometimes come across a really interesting paragraph or maybe even just a single sentence. I underline it, but I know I won't be able to produce a full post with it. Nonetheless, I'd like to share some of these interesting bits with you and as always: if you want to know more, you'll have to buy the book ;-) Which one? Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman:

On how the media manipulates our thinking:
"Unusual events (such as botulism) attract disproportionate attention and are consequently perceived as less unusual than they really are. The world in our heads is not a precise replica of reality; our expectations about the frequency of events are distorted by the prevalence and emotional intensity of the messages to which we are exposed." (p. 138)

On the difference between probability and plausibility:
"When you specify a possible event in greater detail you can only lower its probability. The problem therefore sets up a conflict between the intuition of representativeness and the logic of probability." (p. 157)

"The most representative outcomes combine with the personality description to produce the most coherent stories. The most coherent stories are not necessarily the most probable, but they are plausible, and the notions of coherence, plausibility, and probability are easily confused by the unwary." (p. 159)

From the chapter Causes Trump Statistics:
"Subjects' unwillingness to deduce the particular from the general was matched only by their willingness to infer the general from the particular. This is a profoundly important conclusion. People who are taught surprising statistical facts about human behaviour may be impressed to the point of telling their friends about what they have heard, but this does not mean that their understanding of the world has really changed. The test of learning psychology is whether your understanding of situations you encounter has changed, not whether you have learned a new fact..." (p. 174)

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