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Unit 1 Text B Why do smart people do dumb things?翻译,原文和录音

[2018年11月6日] 来源:新视野大学英语Unit 1 编辑:给力英语网   字号 [] [] []  

Why do smart people do dumb things?


1 Orthodox views prize intelligence and intellectual rigor highly in the modern realm of universities and tech industry jobs. One of the underlying assumptions of this value system is that smart people by virtue of what they've learned will formulate better decisions. Often this is true. Yet psychologists who study human decision-making processes have uncovered cognitive biases common to all people regardless of intelligence that can lead to poor decisions in experts and laymen alike.


2 Thankfully these biases can be avoided. Understanding how and in what situations they occur can give you an awareness of your own limitations and allow you to factor them into your decision-making.


3 One of the most common biases is what is known as the fundamental attribution error. Through this people attribute the failures of others to character flaws and their own to mere circumstance subconsciously considering their own characters to be stainless. "Jenkins lost his job because of his incompetence; I lost mine because of the recession." It also leads us to attribute our own success to our qualifications discounting luck while seeing others' success as the product of mere luck.


4 In other words we typically demand more accountability from others than we do from ourselves. Not only does this lead to petty judgments about other people it also leads to faulty risk assessment when you assume that certain bad things only happen to others. For example you might assume without evidence that the price of your house will go up even though 90 percent of them have dropped in price because you yourself are more competent.


5 Confirmation bias is sometimes found together with fundamental attribution error. This one has two parts. First we tend to gather and rely upon information that only confirms our existing views. Second we avoid or veto things that refute our preexisting hypotheses.


6 For example imagine that you suspect your computer has been hacked. Every time it stalls or has a little error you assume that it was triggered by a hacker and that your suspicions are valid. This bias plays an especially big role in rivalries between two opposing views. Each side partitions their own beliefs in a logic-proof loop and claims their opponent is failing to recognize valid points. Outwitting confirmation bias therefore requires exploring both sides of an argument with equal diligence.


7 Similar to confirmation bias is the overconfidence bias. In an ideal world we could be correct 100 percent of the time we were 100 percent sure about something correct 80 percent of the time we were 80 percent sure about something and so on. In reality people's confidence vastly exceeds the accuracy of those judgments. This bias most frequently comes into play in areas where someone has no direct evidence and must make a guess  estimating how many people are in a crowded plaza for example or how likely it will rain. To make matters worse even when people are aware of overconfidence bias they will still tend to overstate the chances that they are correct. Confidence is no prophet and is best used together with available evidence. When witnesses are called to testify in a court trial the confidence in their testimony is measured along with and against the evidence at hand.


8 The availability bias is also related to errors in estimation in that we tend to estimate what outcome is more likely by how easily we can recount an example from memory. Since the retention and retrieval of memories is biased toward vivid sensational or emotionally charged examples decisions based on them can often lead to strange inaccurate conclusions.


9 In action this bias might lead someone to cancel a trip to for example the Canary Islands because of a report that the biggest plane crash in history happened there. Likewise some people might stop going out at night for fear of assault or rape.


10 Repelling the availability bias calls for an empirical approach to a particular decision one not based on the obscured reality of vivid memory. If there is a low incidence of disaster like only one out of 100000 plane landings results in a crash it is safe to fly to the Canary Islands. If one out of one million people who go out is assaulted it is safe to go out at night.


11 The sunk cost fallacy has a periodic application and was first identified by economists. A good example of how it works is the casino slot machine. Gamblers with a high threshold for risk put money into a slot machine hoping for a big return but with each pull of the lever they lose some money playing the odds. If they have been pulling the lever many times in a row without success they might decide that they had better keep spending money at the machine or they will have wasted everything they already put in.


12 The truth is that every pull of the lever has the same winning probability of nearly one in a trillion regardless of how much money has been put in before  the previous plays were sunk costs.


13 In everyday life this can lead people to stay in damaging situations because of how much they have already put in stuck on the erroneous belief that the value of that time or energy they have invested will decay or disappear if they leave. The wisest course is to recognize the effects of the sunk cost fallacy and to leave a bad situation regardless of how much you have already invested.


14 While there are still more biases the key to avoiding them remains the same: When a decision matters it is best to rely on watertight logic and a careful examination of the evidence and to remain aware that what seems like good intuition is always subject to errors of judgment.

聪明人为何会做蠢事?


传统观念将智力和思维的缜密性看作现代大学领域和科技产业工作的重要素质。这一价值体系所隐含的前提是,聪明人借助自己丰富的学识会作出更高明的决定。在大多数情况下,确实如此。但是,研究人类决策过程的心理学家们却发现了每个人身上都常见的“认知偏差”。不管智力水平如何,这些认知偏差都会引导人们作出错误的决定,不论他们是专家还是门外汉。


好在这些偏差是可以避免的。只要知道这些偏差如何及在何种情况下发生,你就能意识到自身的缺陷,并在决策过程中考虑到这些因素的影响。


最常见的偏差之一就是通常所说的“基本归因错误”。犯这种错误的人会将别人的失败归因于性格缺陷,而将自己的失败仅仅归因于周遭环境,潜意识中认为自己的性格是完美无瑕的。“詹金斯丢掉了工作是因为他能力太差,我丢掉了工作则是因为经济衰退。”同样,这种偏差也会让我们将自己的成功归功于自身素质而不是运气,而将别人的成功仅仅看作是运气使然。


换句话说,我们通常要求别人承担更多的责任,而不是自己。这不仅导致我们心胸狭窄地对别人进行评价也会由于假定某种坏事只会发生在别人身上而致使我们做出错误的风险评判。举一个例子,你可能会毫无根据地假定自己的房子会升值,哪怕周围百分之九十的房子都已经贬值了,因为你总认为自己的能力更强。


“确定性偏差”有时会和“基本归因错误”一并出现。这种偏差包含两部分:第一,我们往往只收集且只依赖对我们的已有观点起支持作用的信息;第二,我们回避或否认那些与自己之前所持的假设相左的信息。


比如说,假设你怀疑自己的电脑受到了黑客攻击,那么它每次死机或出个小错,你都会认定是由黑客引起的,而且你认定自己的怀疑正确无误。这种偏差在两种敌对观点的对抗中会起到尤其重要的作用。每一方都会把自己的观点隔离出来,认为其在逻辑上无懈可击,并声称他们的对手忽略了某些要点。所以,要克服“确定性偏差”,就要以同样的努力认真探究论点的正反两面。


与“确定性偏差”相类似的是“过度自信偏差”。在一个理想的世界,当我们百分之百地确信某件事时,我们就百分之百地正确;当我们百分之八十地确信某件事时,我们就百分之八十地正确,以此类推。但在现实中,人们的信心却大大超过了其判断的准确度。在一个人缺乏直接证据而必须要作出某种猜测的情况下,这一偏差就最有可能起作用,比如,估计一个拥挤的购物广场有多少人,或下雨的可能性有多大。更糟糕的是,即使人们意识到自己有过度自信的偏差,他们还是会高估自己的正确率。光靠自信是无法进行准确预测的,只有在切实证据的基础上,自信才能发挥最大的作用。当法庭传唤目击者出庭作证时,对他们证词的信任度是通过已经获取的相符或相反的证据来度量的。


与估计失误相关的还有“可得性偏差”,因为我们常常会凭借回忆某一例证的难易程度来推测哪种结果更可能出现。由于记忆的留存和重拾会因为事件的生动与否、震撼程度和情感触动程度的不同而产生偏差,那么,基于这些记忆所作出的决定也往往会是奇怪或不准确的结论。


在具体行为中,这种偏差可能会使某人取消比如前往加那利群岛的行程,因为有报道说,史上最惨重的空难就发生在那里。同样,人们也可能因惧怕遭到人身侵犯或者强暴而不敢再在晚上出门。


要排除“可得性偏差”,就必须在作某一具体决定时,以实证方法所取得的证据为依据,而不是以与现实不太相符的某个鲜明的记忆为依据。如果灾难的发生率很低,比如飞机着陆过程中坠毁的可能性只有十万分之一,那么飞往加那利群岛就仍是安全的。如果人们外出只有百万分之一的几率遭到人身侵犯,那么夜晚出行也就仍是安全的。


“沉没成本谬误”也时有发生,它最初是由经济学家发现的。其作用机理最好的例证就是赌场老虎机。赌徒们冒着高风险,把钱投入老虎机,期望能够得到很大的回报,但随着一次次拉动拉杆,他们也一次次把钱赌输了。如果他们多次连续拉动拉杆而没有一次成功,他们可能会决定最好还是继续把钱投入老虎机,否则他们之前投入的成本就悉数浪费了。


而事实是,不论他们之前投入了多少钱,每一次拉动拉杆的成功几率都同样是极小的——之前投入的那些即为沉没成本。


在日常生活中,这种谬误会导致人们由于顾及之前所投入的成本,而持续停留在损失的状态中,同时困顿于一种错误的观念,即他们害怕自己一旦离开,之前所投入的时间和精力就会贬值或付诸东流。而最明智的办法则是,要充分认识沉没成本谬误导致的结果,离开糟糕的境况,不论之前已投入了多少。


尽管还有其他更多的偏差,避免这些偏差的关键其实都一样:当涉及重要决策时,最好是依靠严密的逻辑并仔细审查证据;同时,要保持警惕,那些看上去良好的直觉总是很容易导致判断失误。