Full paper (West, Meserve, & Stanovich, 2012).

The New Yorker article ("Why smart people are stupid") by Lehrer misrepresents the main point of West et al.'s paper, which is that – as the original paper title asserts – "cognitive sophistication does not attenuate the bias blind spot", instead of the article's claim that smart people are more susceptible to cognitive biases.

Three negligent misrepresentations by Lehrer:

First, contrary to the general message of the article, West et al. state twice that most cognitive biases are negative... (read more)

The article is pretty annoying, but after thinking about this for a day the positive blind-spot/IQ association doesn't seem implausible at all. Smart people tend to know they're smart (and tend to overestimate how far above the mean they are). And lots of people associate cognitive biases with low intelligence (in part because they are associated for many biases). So it shouldn't be that surprising that smart people think they're less likely to suffer from a cognitive bias after one is described to them given that they're unlikely to be familiar with past ... (read more)

2khafra8yI'm missing something basic, here: If cognitive sophistication does attenuate other biases, how can they tell that the cognitively sophisticated believe themselves less biased than the average person to the point of being biased in that belief, rather than merely to the point of being correct?

The New Yorker article on cognitive biases

by BlazeOrangeDeer 1 min read13th Jun 201226 comments


A New Yorker article on cognitive biases was on the reddit front page in the last day. It seems like a good opportunity to discuss what the article got right, what it didn't, how reddit reacted, and how one might better publicize the topic in the future.

reddit comments(this link doesn't work any more, see VincentYu's comment for links)