Making Better Decisions, The Sophomore Jinx, & The Illusion of Objectivity with Dr. Richard Nisbett

December 15, 2016
In this episode we discuss the errors people make in their reasoning and how to correct them, we explain a number of statistical principles to help sharpen your thinking and make you a better decision maker, why every $1 spent on a “scared straight” program creates $400 of cost for the criminal justice system, the illusion of objectivity, why you should NOT rely on your intuition and much more with Dr. Richard Nisbett. 
 
Dr. Richard Nisbett is a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan. He has been awarded the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award of the American Psychology Association, the William James Fellow Award for Distinguished Scientific Achievements, and the Donald T. Campbell Award for Distinguished Research in Social Psychology, among others. He is the author of the recent book Mindware, as well as The Geography of Thought, Think Differently, and Intelligence and How To Get It.
  • The errors people make in their reasoning and how to correct them
  • How to apply the lessons of statistics to making better decisions
  • Is your intelligence fixed and unchangeable?
  • How the industrial revolution massively transformed the way people think
  • We discuss the skills, not on an IQ test, that you must have to be able to function effectively in today’s age
  • Why job interviews are totally useless and have almost no correlation to job performance 
  • How misunderstanding the law of large numbers can lead you to make huge mistakes
  • Why does the rookie of the year almost always have a worse performance the following year?
  • Understanding regression to the mean and how it creates extremely counterintuitive conclusions
  • Why Performance = Skill + Luck 
  • Why deterministic thinking can drastically mislead you in finding the root cause of a phenomena
  • We explain a number of statistical principles to help sharpen your thinking and make you a better decision maker
  • The concept of "base rates" and how they can transform how you think about reality
  • We walk through a number of concrete examples of how misunderstanding statistics can cause people to make terrible decisions
  • If you’re like most people, then like most people, you think you’re not like most people (but you are)
  • Why every $1 spent on a “scared straight” program creates $400 of cost in criminal and incarceration costs 
  • Why the “head start” program is a massive failure and what we could have done about it 
  • How you can use the experimental method to make data driven experiments in your life
  • The illusion of objectivity - Why you should NOT rely on your intuition 
  • How we massively distort our perception of reality and why our perceptual apparatus can easily mislead us
  • How many of the structures we use to understand the world are highly error prone
  • Why we are amazing at pattern detection but horrible at "covariation detection”
  • Why the traditional rorschach test is bogus and doesn't actually produce any results
  • Why you are likely are “horrendously miscalibrated” in your assessments of people’s personalities
If you want to make better decisions - listen to this episode! 
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