Overcoming Bias

Overcoming Bias is a group blog on the systemic mistakes humans make, and how we can possibly correct them. The primary contributors are Robin Hanson of George Mason University and Eliezer Yudkowsky of the Machine Intelligence Research Institute. Common topics include "cognitive psychology, evolutionary psychology, microeconomics, applied statistics, social psychology, probability and decision theory, even a bit of Artificial Intelligence now and then."

The complete list of Yudkowsky's posts on Overcoming Bias was compiled by Andrew Hay here.

A categorized list of Yudkowsky's posts moved from Overcoming Bias to Less Wrong is available at Less Wrong/All Articles.

TitleAuthorDateSummary
How To JoinRobin Hanson2006-11-20Description of OB and how to contribute.
Hide Sociobiology Like Sex?Robin Hanson2006-11-20Should we teach children about self-interest explanations and sociobiology earlier?
Quiz: Fox or Hedgehog?Hal Finney2006-11-21Discussion of Philip Tetlock's Fox/Hedgehog classification guide in Expert Political Judgement.
The Movie "Click"Robin Hanson2006-11-21Is there a bias towards working hard and against spending enough time with family?
The Wisdom of BromidesNick Bostrom2006-11-21Biases may exist on an individual level, even if they cancel out on a group level, so even apparently contradictory bromides might highlight important types of failure.
Beware Heritable BeliefsRobin Hanson2006-11-22Some opinions are highly heritable, so put extra scrutiny on those beliefs.
The Martial Art of RationalityEliezer Yudkowsky2006-11-22Rationality as martial art. Individuals should be able to train their mind like they train muscles.
A 1990 Corporate Prediction MarketRobin Hanson2006-11-23First known example of a market designed primarily to gain information from was created by Xanadu, Inc. in 1990.
Why Are Academics Liberal?Robin Hanson2006-11-24Ratio of Democrats to Republicans in academia is 5:1 compared to roughly 1:1 in general populace. Is this due to intelligence and information, or social reasons?
Moral OverconfidenceRobin Hanson2006-11-24Students admit to cheating, lying, and theft, but 75% think they are more ethical than their peers.
What Exactly is Bias?Nick Bostrom2006-11-25"A bias is a non-rational factor that systematically pushes one's beliefs in some domain in one direction."
Foxes vs Hedgehogs: Predictive SuccessHal Finney2006-11-26According to Philip Tetlock, foxes (a flexible, tentative cognitive style) are more successful than at forecasting. Hedgehogs do worse than a random guess.
To the barricades! Against ... what exactly?Robin Hanson2006-11-26Even though bias might have a broader technical meaning, it is better to think of it as "cheaply avoidable error".
Asymmetric PaternalismPeter McCluskey2006-11-26Paternalism to correct common biases and public choice considerations.
Why truth? And…Eliezer Yudkowsky2006-11-26We seek the truth for intellectual curiosity, pragmatic reasons, and for its own sake, although there is danger in thinking a moral duty to be rational exists.
…What's a bias, again?Eliezer Yudkowsky2006-11-26A bias is an obstacle to us knowing the truth. Biases are best defined by observed patterns of errors, not by an actual definition, because there are so many ways to be wrong.
Beware Amateur Science HistoryRobin Hanson2006-11-27Publicizers are often better known for a discovery than the actual innovator.
Surprisingly Friendly SuburbsHal Finney2006-11-27Areas with lower population density tend to be friendlier, contrary to popular belief.
Are The Big Four Econ Errors Biases?Robin Hanson2006-11-28Bryan Caplan's work on voter irrationality identifies correlated errors, not biases. Public more skeptical of economics than physics experts.
Pascalian MeditationsGuy Kahane2006-11-28Attempts to reduce bias feasible, even though our cognition is limited. The desire to deduce bias is not itself a bias.
(In)cautious defense of biasPaul Gowder2006-11-28Random error helps "evolutionary" development of truth. Bias needed to fight bias. Bias might generate beneficial self-fulfilling prophecies. Errors needed to exercise reason and debating skill.
Beware of Disagreeing with LewisRobin Hanson2006-11-28Disagreement in the philosophy of disagreement.
Thank you ma'am, may I have another?Robin Hanson2006-11-30What do complaints by women signal?
Macro Shares: Prediction Markets via Stock Exchanges?Peter McCluskey2006-11-30New security might function as a pure prediction market alternative.
The Onion on Bias: "Duh"Robin Hanson2006-12-01Everyone knows local sport reporting is biased, but no one cares. What about other biases if they become widely known?
The Proper Use of HumilityEliezer Yudkowsky2006-12-01Use humility to justify further action, not as an excuse for laziness, irrationality, or ignorance. Humility can be too easy to admit to.
Biases of Science FictionRobin Hanson2006-12-02Conflicts between good story telling and good forecasting.
Bias, Well-Being, and the Placebo EffectGuy Kahane2006-12-02Self-deceptive illusions appear to make us happier.
Does Profit Rate Insight Best?Robin Hanson2006-12-03Traders who make the most money in a prediction market might not be the best forecaster.
Future SelvesHal Finney2006-12-03Time-inconsistent preferences and akrasia
Seen vs. Unseen BiasesRobin Hanson2006-12-04Seen biases might cancel out unseen ones, so partial debiasing might make us less accurate, although avoid using this as an excuse.
Bosses Prefer Overconfident ManagersRobin Hanson2006-12-05Bosses appear to interpret accurate estimates as a signal of incompetence.
Math Zero vs. Political ZeroRobin Hanson2006-12-05What does it mean if a study finds the effect of a small increase in the minimum wage to be near zero?
Reasonable DisagreementNicholas Shackel2006-12-06Some disagreements might be reasonable because of incommunicable evidence and insights.
The Wisdom of CrowdsHal Finney2006-12-06 
Alas Amateur FuturismRobin Hanson2006-12-07 
Leamer's 1986 Idea Futures ProposalRobin Hanson2006-12-08 
Time on RiskHal Finney2006-12-09 
Agreeing to AgreeHal Finney2006-12-10 
The Modesty ArgumentEliezer Yudkowsky2006-12-10 
Law as No-Bias TheatreRobin Hanson2006-12-11 
We Are Smarter Than MeHal Finney2006-12-11 
Should Prediction Markets be Charities?Peter McCluskey2006-12-11 
Do Helping Professions Help More?Robin Hanson2006-12-12 
Ignorance of FrankenfoodsHal Finney2006-12-12 
The 80% Forecasting SolutionRobin Hanson2006-12-13 
Fillers Neglect FramersRobin Hanson2006-12-14 
Malatesta EstimatorAdrian Tschoegl2006-12-14