You Are Not So Smart
Fallacies taken from "You are Not so Smart," by David McRaney. There are 48 in the book.
Terms in this set (48)
you DO NOT know when you are being influenced and how it is affecting your behavior. INSTEAD, you are unaware of the constant nudging you receive from ideas formed in your unconscious mind
EX: washing hands, business pens experiment
you DO NOT know when you are lying to yourself. INSTEAD, you are often ignorant of your motivations and create fictional narratives to explain your decisions, emotions, and history without realizing it.
EX: Jimmy Kimmel, Lie Witness News
your opinions ARE NOT the result of years of rational, objective analysis. INSTEAD, your opinions are the result of years of paying attention to information that confirmed what you believed, while ignoring information that challenged your preconceived notions.
after you learn something new, you DO NOT remember how you were once ignorant or wrong. INSTEAD, you often look back on the things you've just learned and assume you knew them or believed them all along.
EX: The 2008 financial crisis, Nostradamus, novel Futility, Lincoln/JFK
Texas sharpshooter fallacy
you DO NOT take randomness into account when determining cause and effect. INSTEAD, you tend to ignore random chance when the results seem meaningful or when you want a random event to have a meaningful cause.
Littlewood's Law: 1 in million equals 1 in 35 days
you DO NOT procrastinate because you are lazy and can't manage your time well. INSTEAD, procrastination is fueled by weakness in the face of impulse and a failure to think about thinking.
EX: Present Bias: buying vegetables
your fight-or-flight instincts DO NOT kick in and you DO NOT panic when disaster strikes. INSTEAD, you often become abnormally calm and pretend everything is normal in a crisis.
EX: plane crash 1 minute to escape, tornado F5 hundreds died
you DO NOT know why you like the things you like and feel the way you feel. INSTEAD, the origin of certain emotional states is unavailable to you, and when pressed to explain them, you will just make something up.
with the advent of mass media, you DO NOT understand how the world works based on statistics and facts culled from many examples. INSTEAD, you are far more likely to believe something is commonplace if you can find just one example of it, and you are far less likely to believe in something you've never seen or heard of before.
when someone is hurt, people DO NOT rush to their aid. INSTEAD, the more people who witness a person in distress, the less likely it is that any one person will help.
you CANNOT predict how well you would perform in any situation. INSTEAD, you are generally pretty bad at estimating your competence and the difficulty of complex tasks.
some coincidences are NOT so miraculous, they must have meaning. INSTEAD, coincidences are a routine part of life, even the seemingly miraculous ones. Any meaning applied to them comes from your mind.
you DO NOT prefer the things you own over the things you don't because you made rational choices when you bought them. INSTEAD, you prefer the things you own because you rationalize your past choices to protect your sense of self.
argument from authority
you are NOT more concerned with the validity of information than the person delivering it. INSTEAD, the status and credentials of an individual greatly influence your perception of that individual's message.
argument from ignorance
when you can't explain something, you DO NOT focus on what you can prove. INSTEAD, when you are unsure of something, you are more likely to accept strange explanations.
straw man fallacy
when you argue, you DO NOT try to stick to the facts. INSTEAD, in any argument, anger will tempt you to reframe your opponent's position.
ad hominem fallacy
if you can't trust someone, you should NOT ignore that person's claims. INSTEAD, what someone says and why they say it should be judged separately.
people who are losing at the game of life must NOT have done something to deserve it. INSTEAD, the beneficiaries of good fortune often do nothing to earn it, and bad people often get away with their actions without consequences.
public goods game
we could NOT create a system with no regulations where everyone would contribute to the good of society, everyone would benefit, and everyone would be happy. INSTEAD, without some form of regulation, slackers and cheaters will crash economic systems because people don't want to feel like suckers.
you DO NOT choose to accept or refuse an offer based on logic. INSTEAD, when it comes to making a deal, you base your decision on your status.
you are NOT skeptical of generalities. INSTEAD, you are prone to believing vague statements and predictions are true, especially if they are positive and address you personally.
you are NOT too smart to join a cult. INSTEAD, cults are populated by people just like you.
problems are NOT easier to solve when a group of people get together to discuss solutions. INSTEAD, the desire to reach consensus and avoid confrontation hinders progress.
men who have sex with RealDolls are NOT insane, and women who marry eighty-year-old billionaires are NOT gold diggers. INSTEAD, the RealDoll and rich old sugar daddies are both supernormal releasers--superstimuli, better than the real thing.
you DO NOT calculate what is risky or rewarding and always choose to maximize gains while minimizing losses. INSTEAD, you depend on emotions to tell you if something is good or bad, greatly overestimate rewards, and tend to stick to your first impressions.
there is NO rolodex in your mind with the names and faces of everyone you've ever known. INSTEAD, you can maintain relationships and keep up with only around 150 people at once.
consumerism and capitalism are NOT sustained by corporations and advertising. INSTEAD, both consumerism and capitalism are driven by competition among consumers for status.
you DO NOT evaluate yourself based on past successes and defeats. INSTEAD, you excuse your failures and see yourself as more successful, more intelligent, and more skilled than you are.
when you are around others, you SHOULD NOT feel as if everyone is noticing every aspect of your appearance and behavior. IN REALITY, people devote little attention to you unless prompted to.
third person effect
your beliefs, opinions, and decisions are NOT based on experience and facts, and those who disagree with you are NOT falling for the lies and propaganda of sources you don't trust. INSTEAD, everyone believes the people they disagree with are gullible, and everyone thinks they are far less susceptible to persuasion than they truly are.
venting your anger is NOT an effective way to reduce stress and prevent lashing out at friends and family. INSTEAD, venting increases aggressive behavior over time.
memories are NOT played back like recordings. INSTEAD, memories are constructed anew each time from whatever information is currently available, which makes them highly permeable to influences from the present.
you are NOT a strong individual who doesn't conform unless forced to. INSTEAD, it takes little more than an authority figure or social pressure to get you to obey, because conformity is a survival instinct.
if you stop engaging in a bad habit, the habit will NOT gradually diminish until it disappears from your life. INSTEAD, any time you quit something cold turkey, your brain will make a last-ditch effort to return you to your habit.
when you are joined by others in a task, you DO NOT work harder and become more accomplished. INSTEAD, once part of a group, you tend to put in less effort because you know your work will be pooled together with others'.
illusion of transparency
when your emotions run high, people CANNOT look at you and tell what you are thinking and feeling. INSTEAD, your subjective experience is not observable, and you overestimate how much you telegraph your inner thoughts and emotions.
if you are in a bad situation, you will NOT do whatever you can do to escape it. INSTEAD, if you feel like you aren't in control of your destiny, you will give up and accept whatever situation you are in.
your opinions of people and events are NOT based on objective evaluation. INSTEAD, you translate your physical world into words, and then believe those words.
you DO NOT rationally analyze all factors before making a choice or determining value. INSTEAD, your first perception lingers in your mind, affecting later perceptions and decisions.
you DO NOT see everything going on before your eyes, taking in all information like a camera. INSTEAD, you are aware only of a small amount of the total information your eyes take in, and even less is processed by your conscious mind and remembered.
in all you do, you DO NOT strive for success. INSTEAD, you often create conditions for failure ahead of time to protect your ego.
predictions about your future are NOT subject to forces beyond your control. INSTEAD, just believing a future event will happen can cause it to happen if the event depends on human behavior.
you are NOT one person, and your happiness is NOT based on being content with your life. INSTEAD, you are multiple selves, and happiness is based on satisfying all of them.
you DO NOT know how your opinions have changed over time. INSTEAD, unless you consciously keep tabs on your progress, you assume the way you feel now is the way you have always felt.
knowing a person's history DOES NOT make it easier to determine what sort of person they are. INSTEAD, you jump to conclusions based on how representative a person seems to be of a preconceived character type.
wine is a complicated elixir, full of subtle flavors only an expert can truly distinguish, but experienced tasters are NOT impervious to deception. INSTEAD, wine experts and consumers can be fooled by altering their expectations.
illusion of control
you DO NOT know how much control you have over your surroundings. INSTEAD, you often believe you have control over outcomes that are either random or are too complex to predict.
fundamental attribution error
other people's behavior is NOT the reflection of their personality. INSTEAD, people's behavior is more the result of the situation than their disposition.
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