Discussion article for the meetup : West LA: The Substitution Principle
How to Find Us: Go into this Del Taco. We will be in the back room if possible.
Parking is free in the lot out front or on the street nearby.
Discussion: When the brain is faced with a hard question, it automatically replaces it with an easier one to estimate the answer. This is good so far as it goes, but it can do this without being aware of the substitution, causing overconfidence or other problems. This can even combine with consistency effects to alter your opinions long-term. Noticing this can help us revise quickly-formed impressions. But wait -- is that really true? Did I only believe it just now because I substituted some easier question, like whether it sounded cool or whether the person talking about it is high-status? Probably. We'd better try to sort it out more carefully at the meetup.
No prior exposure to Less Wrong is required; this will be generally accessible.