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Cognitive Biases: The GI Joe Fallacy

In this video, Laurie Santos (Yale University) discusses why knowing about our cognitive biases is not enough to overcome them. She’ll introduce a new cognitive error known as the G.I. Joe Fallacy, the tendency for our biases to stick around even when we should know better.

Speaker: Dr. Laurie Santos, Associate Professor of Psychology, Yale University.

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  • leafers ultimate style avatar for user Gustavo Rosa
    Even if a person is trained to identify the situations in witch each of the biases occur they can't be avoided? Is there a study that shows the best way to avoid the biases or how to teach people how to avoid them?
    (8 votes)
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    • leaf green style avatar for user Matthew Grandi
      Hahahaha! Great question. The best you can do is catch yourself, self evaluate, meditate on morality of the world in which you create. No we cannot destroy our bias because ultimately it is a great primal instinct that keeps us alive, ie the bandwagon affect! Even serial killers have their place in a primitive society. And without those killers the tribe would have been killed. Take the iceman for instance. He will brutally murder anyone, but would never lay even a hand on his own. Ultimately our brains are wired through primal instincts, there's no way around it other than deep thought, but even then - we need them.
      (6 votes)
  • leaf grey style avatar for user d ny
    Does the practice of "observing the thinker within" (by meditation for instance) help avoiding biases ?
    (4 votes)
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  • aqualine ultimate style avatar for user Squeeshy
    Is it like when someone who is saying that he is not easy to be a victim of a scam, so he is more susceptible to be a victim because he overestimate his capacities to not to be scammed?
    (2 votes)
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  • male robot hal style avatar for user Daniel O. Turnlund
    So, what percentage does knowing actually equate to?
    (2 votes)
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  • leaf grey style avatar for user Jilon
    By knowing, we became aware of the fallacy and can actively participate in changing our behavior, right?
    (1 vote)
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  • piceratops tree style avatar for user BVK
    If that is true, then can we conclude that Humans are not racional?
    (1 vote)
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    • leaf green style avatar for user David Greene
      One perspective is that rationality is a condition of agents which have sufficiently complex cognitive systems that they are able to consciously engage in rational thought. Another perspective, of growing popularity within neuroscience, is that rationality is characteristic of conscious agents because their cognitive processes, including their very emotions, operate according to a rational framework. Some philosophers consider rationality an ideal which precludes emotions (which they consider intrinsically irrational), and thus impossible to fully achieve except under rare and arguably unhuman conditions (e.g., artificial intelligence, severe psychopathy, etc.).

      Whether humans are rational depends on how you define rationality and the necessary and sufficient conditions thereof.
      (2 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user dp677844
    If knowing isn't half the battle, how do we overcome these cognitive biases?
    (1 vote)
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Video transcript

(intro music) Hi! my name is Laurie Santos. I teach psychology at Yale University, and today I want to talk to you about the GI Joe fallacy. This lecture is in the series on cognitive biases. If you've watched a bunch of these videos, you've probably gotten a bit better at noticing your biases at work, and knowing that you might fall prey to them. You might also think that knowing about your biases would, naturally, make you less susceptible to them. Unfortunately, it's not always that simple. In fact, if you think knowing your biases is all you need to overcome them, then you'd be falling prey yet another bias: the GI Joe fallacy. If you're a child of the nineteen-eighties, then you might have a guess about where the name from this bias comes from. Yes - it's from that cartoon known as "GI Joe." Maybe you remember how these shows ended. Each episode had a sort of cheesy public service announcement that ended with the show's famous epithet: "Now you know, and knowing is half the battle." The problem with this idea, the idea that knowing is half the battle, is that cognitive science has shown us that merely knowing about our biases is often way less than half the battle. Now, there are certainly some cases where knowing is half the battle: Knowing your multiplication tables, for example, or knowing which aisle the milk is in. But there are many more where it's not the case, cases where just knowing something doesn't really help us all that much. For example, you may know that standing on the Grand Canyon Skywalk is perfectly safe, but your mind will still feel like it's pretty scary. You may know that arbitrary anchors can mess up your final judgment, but you'll still feel like it's best to get five chocolates when you see a "five for five dollars" sign. Finally, you may know that different wordings can affect your intuitions, but you still may be more hesitant to take a risk involving lives lost than lives saved using years of research on cognitive bias he's shown them know him recognizing yourself as having information is only a small part of what controls our behavior indeed indeed situations most of our behavioral control comes from other classes you like our habits with the situations we finders and not from our conscience tells this is why shaping our situations another behavior in the right direction or even just learning to regulate your emotions over time to be really powerful the funniest part of the GI Joe fallacy is that even knowing about it and the fallacy would protect is less than half the battle even if you know knowing is half the battle you still have a tendency to think that way you consciously know is a mean thing that controls your behavior but it's not even if you watch all of these videos you're still going to be subject to the same effects that the videos described for most cognitive biases including the GI Joe Kraus knowing is not even half the battle and so now you know and that's less than half the battle Subtitles by the Amara.org community