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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.