8 Logical Fallacies That Fuel Anti-Science Sentiments

We need science more than ever, yet many people find it hard to get accurate information about the scientific method and its achievements. Making things more difficult, their misconceptions about science are often driven by logical fallacies, or errors in deductive reasoning. Here are eight of the most common… » 1/14/15 10:25am 1/14/15 10:25am

Why Conspiracy Theorists Are So Obsessed With JFK's "Umbrella Man"

At the moment when bullets were being fired into JFK's motorcade, a man can be seen standing on the side of the road near the car holding an open black umbrella. But it wasn't raining. This is exactly the kind of detail that sets a fire under conspiracy theorists — and here's why. » 10/14/14 9:30am 10/14/14 9:30am

The Einstellung Effect Proves That a Good Idea Can Be A Very Bad Idea

The perfect is the enemy of the good. We know that phrase very well. What the Einstellung Effect proves is the good can be a real enemy of the even better. When we have a solution that's good, we can't begin to think about a better one. » 9/10/14 8:30am 9/10/14 8:30am

Fredkin's Paradox Explains Why You Waste Time On Meaningless Decisions

Ever notice that you spend a full 15 minutes agonizing about whether to have apple-cinnamon pancakes or banana-walnut pancakes in the morning? Ever had that decision affect your day in any way? Fredkin's Paradox explains why you agonize anyway. » 9/03/14 8:40am 9/03/14 8:40am

Proof That We Never Really Know a Bargain When We See One

We've all been taken in by "bargains" in a supermarket that sell us more stuff than we can possibly use by giving us a bargain price on bulk food. When it comes to real life issues, we do exactly the opposite. Offer us the bargain of a lifetime, and we just don't take it. » 8/11/14 12:20pm 8/11/14 12:20pm

How Can Precision Actually Be a Bias?

Let's say you've got a set of studies on the same subject, and they all yield very similar results. They must be showing an accurate answer, right? Nope. Precision and accuracy are not anywhere near the same thing. Mixing them up could get you in real trouble. » 7/22/14 10:33am 7/22/14 10:33am

The Real Reason Why Meetings Are Boring And Unproductive

Ever come out of a meeting knowing that no person there has the slightest bit more information than they went in with? Of course you have. There's a documented reason why this is very likely to happen. » 7/09/14 9:30am 7/09/14 9:30am

Monkeys Make The Same Bad Gambling Decisions That Humans Do

Humans have a remarkable ability to see patterns where none exist. In the hot-hand phenomenon we perceive streaks of wins or losses where the data, in truth, are random. New research shows that monkeys are subject to the same bias, which might suggest that the bias is evolutionarily adaptive, and maybe even rational. » 7/01/14 10:40am 7/01/14 10:40am

A Disturbing Mind Trick to Make You "Confess" During Interrogations

So after you got up this morning, had some waffles, and murdered your neighbor, how did you get away from the scene? Did you walk or did you take your car? Answering this question might lead to incarceration due to the Recency Principle. » 6/30/14 12:30am 6/30/14 12:30am

Selective Perception Is What Makes People Fight About TV

Selective perception describes the phenomenon of only seeing what we want to see. This bias is most glaring when a large group of people see the same events - like a television show. » 5/28/14 10:52am 5/28/14 10:52am

The End of History Illusion Is The One Way You're Still An Adolescent

Do you believe you've finally shed the illusions of youth? That you've struggled, and changed, and become a different person? You're half right. One of the most persistent personal illusions is the End of History Illusion — and that might be a very good thing. » 5/07/14 9:00am 5/07/14 9:00am

The Syndrome That Explains Why You Spent Too Much Money This Weekend

Why do you come out of the weekends wondering why your wallet is so unaccountably empty? There are a lot of reasons, but the most telling is evocatively called the "what-the-hell" effect. » 5/05/14 9:36am 5/05/14 9:36am

10 Reasons an Artificial Intelligence Wouldn't Turn Evil

We all know the story. The moment that computers with their lightning-quick processing power and interlinked systems gain sentience - it's judgment day. But would that really happen? Here are some psychological reasons why digital super-intelligence isn't going to be evil intelligence. » 4/18/14 10:12am 4/18/14 10:12am

​Extract Money From People Using the Ambiguity Effect

Are you comfortable with uncertainty? Are you willing to take money from those who aren't comfortable with it? Then I have just the rigged game for you! Make money from people's uncertainties with the Ambiguity Effect. » 4/15/14 12:18pm 4/15/14 12:18pm

Can Skepticism Blind You to the Truth?

An odd experiment, done by a believer in paranormal phenomena, opens a few questions about how everyone perceives the world. We know that belief can blind people – but can disbelief do the same thing? » 3/23/14 11:15am 3/23/14 11:15am

Why Meetings Are The Worst Possible Way To Get Things Done

Has Naive Cynicism Become A Literary Problem?

Naive cynicism is a cognitive bias, and a particularly tough one to argue against. It's blamed for all kinds of trouble in the real world. Could it also be a problem when creating fictional worlds? » 3/18/14 7:20am 3/18/14 7:20am

How to manipulate people into choosing the worst option

When we are choosing which action to take, one of the most basic calculations which guide us is, "How likely is it to lead to one option or another." We need to think of all possible outcomes, and the rough probability of each one occurring. There is a problem with this. We are not great at assessing probability. … » 3/06/14 8:00am 3/06/14 8:00am

Make people misjudge your attractiveness with the Cheerleader Effect

Want to appear more attractive to people? Only show pictures of yourself when you're with your friends. Amazingly, this is not marketing — you don't appear more attractive because you're popular or loved, you actually trick people's brains into considering your face more attractive. » 3/03/14 6:40am 3/03/14 6:40am