Archive for the ‘Metacognition’ Category

“I’m awesome” “No, you’re not” – the Dunning-Kruger effect

May 14th, 2017 No comments

You’ve just taken an exam. As you push through the doors to the refreshing, cool air of the outside world, you feel a weight lift off your shoulders and a childish giddiness makes its way throughout your body. You feel like you really nailed that exam, which is quite the feat, given you only studied for about 30 minutes the night before. Flash-forward two weeks of vigorously patting yourself on the back, and your exam has been graded. Expecting the absolute best, you accept your graded exam from your professor with a flourish and find yourself just a tad confused to find your grade much lower than you expected.

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What do Ostriches and Finance Have in Common?

May 7th, 2017 3 comments

In college it is hard to save money. With the costs of textbooks, late night pizza, and online shopping, I know my bank account is looking a little scary. Often times I find myself avoiding looking at my bank app because I’m afraid to see what my bank statement is, but on payday it is the first thing that I check. Why is that?

This tendency – to avoid checking financial standings when we know that they could be bad – is known as “the ostrich effect,” and is defined as the tendency for people to ignore their problems with the hopes that they will just disappear, similarly to how an ostrich hides their head in the sand when they are hiding from danger, and this tendency is not seen only in broke college students.

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Throwing good money after bad – Why We Fall Victim to the Sunk Cost Fallacy and How to Beat It

April 21st, 2017 3 comments

The Sunk Cost Fallacy

Imagine you have finally graduated from college, gotten a job, and are moving out of your childhood room at home and into a tiny room the size of a closet in the big city. You’re cleaning out and packing up old T-shirts you never wear, sweaters that went out of style years ago, and pants that just never fit you right. Since your apartment is so tiny, you barely have enough room in your closet to fit the clothes you wear on a daily basis, let alone all of these other items. But you love those T-shirts and the sweaters might come back into style and the pants might fit better if you lose some weight. So you pay for a storage unit in the city and waste some of your already very small income. Are you ever really going to wear those T-shirts again? Are those sweaters ever going to come back in style? You know the answer is probably not, and you also wouldn’t miss them if they were gone. But this is hard to remember when you think about all of the money you have already invested in all of these clothes. So instead, you choose to spend even more money on storage to keep items you spent money on in the past but don’t use in the present and probably won’t use in the future. What is this all about?

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Under Budget and Over Time: The Planning Fallacy is Why You’re Always Behind Schedule

April 17th, 2017 8 comments

You are a busy college student who has a lot to do after a long day of classes. So you decide to try to organize your life and make a detailed schedule for your evening. You set aside an hour to get that workout in, and then another generous hour for dinner with your friends. Then to the library, you give yourself 45 minutes to read a history article and an hour to finish your lab report, followed

Evening Schedule

by an hour and a half for that chapter of chemistry notes. If all goes as planned, you’ll be back in your room snuggled up with Netflix by 11pm. The problem is, halfway through that chemistry chapter, you glance at your phone and it reads 11:43pm. What happened? You planned out everything you had to do and thought you had given yourself enough time to do it. Unfortunately, you have fallen victim to the planning fallacy. Read more…

I knew it! The effect of hindsight bias and why you probably did not actually know it.

April 16th, 2017 1 comment

There is a cold crispness to the air, but the sun in the cloudless sky gives you the little bit of warmth you need to feel comfortable. It is an early November day, and it is time for the U-12 soccer championship. Maybe you are a player, a parent, a friend, even a referee here today. There are four teams here with the same goal in mind, to win all their games so that they get crowned champion. The Cheshire Rams are the ones you are hoping to win today. You do not know how the day is going to go because all of the teams here have had great records this season and are all very competitive for the title. Hours later, the Cheshire Rams have done it. They are champions! You are in the car riding back, and all you can think to yourself is “wow, I knew it would happen!”


What is Hindsight Bias?

Did you actually know that the outcome would happen as it did? The truth is, most likely not. Read more…

Please DON’T read this article, but…

April 16th, 2017 3 comments

Obviously, there was nothing special at the arrow, but you must have stared at that arrow for some time.

… But I know you are going to read more. Isn’t it weird that the author tells you not to read his brainchild? Isn’t it bizarre that I have written an anti-advertisement? Isn’t it interesting that you realize you have almost finished reading the first paragraph? Yes you have.

Also you might have seen the emergency exits labeled “EMERGENCY, DON’T EXIT”. Haven’t you asked yourself why that sign is so paradoxical that you would spend minutes deciding whether to exit? Or you have heard a parent telling a running toddler “I bet you won’t catch me”, and almost immediately the adult was caught by that toddler. For so many times you might have asked why to have that deception. You have probably heard of the famous “smoke a pack per day” slogan in quitting smoking, and if so, aren’t you curious why encouraging smoking actually helps people quit?

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How Well do You Really Know Your Acquaintances? The Illusion of Asymmetric Insight

April 16th, 2017 1 comment

Have you ever found yourself questioning the decisions of those around you, perhaps as if you had better insight into the thoughts and emotions of a person than they did themselves? Or do you ever catch yourself making internal judgments towards others in a way that pushes aside the legitimacy of one’s own self-understanding? “Why is she doing that? She should know herself better!” These are behaviors that can be understood through a phenomenon commonly referred to as the illusion of asymmetrical insight, a cognitive bias that describes our tendency to think we understand other people better than they understand themselves and us. To put it into other words, Kathy (person #1) would be experiencing the illusion of asymmetric insight if she thinks she knows Kathy (herself) better than Jake (person #2) knows Jake (himself) or Kathy (person #1).

The Illusion of Asymmetric Insight in Action

This bias can be seen in individuals throughout varying contexts, and is also very common among social, political, and religious groups. Multiple studies have explored the manifestations of the illusion of asymmetric insight, many of which attribute the bias to reasons outside our level of consciousness. In other words, we do not have full awareness of when this phenomenon is occurring due to the fact that it is an automatic processes (a process that is quick, easy, requires little cognitive resources, and has the ability to occur without full attention, as opposed to controlled processes, which are slow, difficult, and require cognitive resources and full attention).

So why do we experience this phenomenon so frequently without even realizing it?

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