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Is the Reversal Test overrated?

by Bob Jacobs 1 min read25th Jan 20208 comments


I see it treated as a reliable way to discover status quo bias. The classic example being: "If you don't want to artificially decrease your lifespan by 50 years why don't you want to increase it by 50 years?"

Except it's basically always rational to prefer the status quo (change is bad)

If someone ask me: "Would you like to increase your body temperature by 50 degrees?" I would say I wouldn't, but saying that I also wouldn't like to decrease my body temperature by 50 degrees wouldn't make me irrational.

Now this a very obvious example but I worry that when the community uses it on someone not trained in the Less Wrong jargon/way of thinking and they can't immediately explain why they prefer the status quo their argument gets labeled as irrational.

Just keep in mind that it's only a small tool to explore someone's reasoning behind an opinion, not a way to disprove something.

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