Psychology and behavioral economics

For content related to psychology, how we learn, how we make decisions.

First, what's the problem?

We’ve all been there, facing a problem so large or complex it seems insoluble. Fortunately, insoluble problems are solved with great regularity. If that weren’t true, we’d still be living in caves and eating only what we could catch or pick.

What can we do to increase our chances of solving the big problems in our lives and workplaces? Here are three suggestions.

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Reification

Simplification may be necessary when we try to cram complex or messy truths into comprehensible prose or usable tools, but the underlying dishonesty and inevitable distortions should be noted rather than denied, lest we begin to mistake the symbol for the thing.

 


 

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Confirmation bias

I will never forget the quasi-humorous sign in the radiology reading room:

I’ll see it when I believe it.

Robert Burton, a former Chief of Neurology at Mount Zion Medical Center, explains it this way:

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