This article looks at John A. List’s book, The Voltage Effect: How to Make Good Ideas Great and Great Ideas Scale; the book covers cognitive biases that can lead us to ignore or misinterpret data.


This article in Big Think makes the following points:
  • In 1974, psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky published an academic paper. The pair essentially launched a new field—the study of cognitive biases.
  • With a series of experiments, they uncovered a constellation of hidden weaknesses in human judgment that steer us away from rational decision-making.
  • Cognitive biases are hardwired in the brain, making them difficult to change.
  • Confirmation bias—which prevents us from seeing possibilities that challenge our assumptions—help to explain why avoidable false positives frequently occur.
  • We use mental shortcuts to make quick, gut-level decisions because we have limited brainpower to process a lot of data.
  • Over time, our brains have evolved to reduce uncertainty and streamline our responses.


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