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Your Brain is Primed to Reach False Conclusions

02/17/2015

Summary

Psychologists have a name for the cognitive bias that makes us prone to assigning a causal relationship to two events simply because they happened one after the other: the “illusion of causality.” Causal illusions don’t just cement erroneous ideas in the mind; they can also prevent new information from correcting them. Researchers from Dartmouth studied new ways of reversing the natural belief in causality. Instead of trying to counteract false associations through information, they experimented with ways to improve the way people think. erroneous beliefs aren’t easily overturned, and when they’re tinged with emotion, forget about it. Explaining the science and helping people understand it are only the first steps. If you want someone to accept information that contradicts what they already know, you have to find a story they can buy into. 

Discussion Questions

  1. How might the "illusion of causality" affect business decisions?
  2. What are steps that we can take to deal with cognitive biases? 

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