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The Devil's Virtuoso
Contents:


  1. The Cognitive Science of Rationality
  2. Subscriber Login
  3. A Test to Measure How Rational You Really Are
  4. Rationality and the Reflective Mind
  5. Aeon for Friends

Many classic effects from the heuristics and biases literature — base-rate neglect, framing effects, conjunction effects, anchoring biases, and outcome bias — are only modestly related to intelligence if run in between-subjects designs. Most rational thinking tasks correlate to some degree with intelligence, but the correlation is almost always moderate enough.

Hence my coining of the term dysrationalia in the early s. And what do you mean by "dysrationalia"? I define dysrationalia as the inability to think and behave rationally despite having adequate intelligence. Many people display the systematic inability to think or behave rationally despite the fact that they have more than adequate IQs.

One of the reasons that many of us are dysrationalic to some extent is that, for a variety of reasons, we have come to overvalue the kinds of thinking skills that IQ tests measure and undervalue other critically important cognitive skills, such as the ability to think rationally. What are some examples of a person exhibiting low rationality?

What are some unexpected or lesser known "risks" of not thinking completely rationally? I also discuss how many feel that George W. Bush was dysrationalic. But in terms of specifics, here are some irrational thinking tendencies to consider:. Is rationality something that's innate? Or is there hope for people with low RQ?

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Rationality is not entirely innate. It is as malleable as intelligence and possibly much more so. Fluid rationality encompasses the process part of rational thought — the thinking dispositions of the reflective mind that lead to rational thought and action.


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Crystallized rationality encompasses all of the knowledge structures that relate to rational thought. These knowledge structures are the tools of rationality probabilistic thinking, logic, scientific reasoning and they represent declarative knowledge that is often incompletely learned or not acquired at all.

The Cognitive Science of Rationality

But they can be learned by most and in this sense rationality is teachable. Rational thinking errors due to such knowledge gaps can occur in a potentially large set of coherent knowledge bases in the domains of probabilistic reasoning, causal reasoning, knowledge of risks, logic, practical numeracy, financial literacy, and scientific thinking the importance of alternative hypotheses, etc. This article was originally published on io9.

In any case. I do agree that rationality through mindfulness and vigilance can be instructed with training, Buddhism , and that perhaps should even be introduced into nurture at home and school for children at the earliest of ages, Huxley , as long as this applied philosophy does not stifle imagination, creativity, Self-expression and play?

An exquisitely uber-cool concept, and a wonderful badge to wear if you want to distinguish oneself from the unwashed masses. So, I stand with Steven Pinker on this.

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On the whole, I think humanity would benefit people became generally more rational. A terrorist may commit murderous acts and still claim he is acting rationally and especially in line with his beliefs and goals?

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None of us are experts at this. Come to think of it, controlling moods and emotions does not correlate with rationality, but merely strength of will to suppress emotions? When I said I thought humanity would benefit from people becoming more rational, I was making an empirical claim. It may be wrong. I prefer acceptance of emotions rather than trying to control them. What we can control, much more easily and directly, provided we are sufficiently mindful, is our behaviour, i.

The trap is when we see emotions like fear and anger as negative and then try to get rid of them, or deny that they are there.


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The more aware and accepting of our emotions we are, the more likely we are to prevent them from makings us do stupid things - or jump to wrong conclusions. It is believed by some philosophers notably A. Grayling that a good rationale must be independent of emotions, personal feelings or any kind of instincts. If these minimum requirements are not satisfied i. Modern cognitive science and neuroscience show that studying the role of emotion in mental function including topics ranging from flashes of scientific insight to making future plans , that no human has ever satisfied this criterion, except perhaps a person with no affective feelings, for example an individual with a massively damaged amygdala or severe psychopathy.

A Test to Measure How Rational You Really Are

Thus, such an idealized form of rationality is best exemplified by computers, and not people. However, scholars may productively appeal to the idealization as a point of reference. Within artificial intelligence , a rational agent is one that maximizes its expected utility , given its current knowledge. Utility is the usefulness of the consequences of its actions.

Rationality and the Reflective Mind

The utility function is arbitrarily defined by the designer, but should be a function of performance, which is the directly measurable consequences, such as winning or losing money. In order to make a safe agent that plays defensively, a nonlinear function of performance is often desired, so that the reward for winning is lower than the punishment for losing. An agent might be rational within its own problem area, but finding the rational decision for arbitrarily complex problems is not practically possible.

The rationality of human thought is a key problem in the psychology of reasoning. Not sure I get the relevance, CygnusX1.

Aeon for Friends

A definition of rationality does not have to be perfect to be useful. Same goes for a measure of rationality. If a person universally only ever makes long term decisions to delay gratification, then that person will never actually receive any gratification. Different people live in different circumstances with different risks of not getting a long term gain. Say I live with George. We have a bag of no-calorie chocolates that will keep indefinitely in the freezer.

We cannot buy more chocolate for two weeks. George eats his of the chocolates today. I eat two chocolates and save the rest to space out as treats over the next two weeks. Whether that was a good decision or a bad one depends entirely on the risk of George eating my chocolates for me. Maybe my experience of life is that I expect someone like you to lie to someone like me.

For people with little power, delayed gratification often means only the bullies or emotional blackmailers in their lives get any gratification. In Rationality and the Reflective Mind, Keith Stanovich attempts to resolve the Great Rationality Debate in cognitive science-the debate about how much irrationality to ascribe to human cognition. He shows how the insights of dual-process theory and evolutionary psychology can be combined to explain why humans are sometimes irrational even though they possess remarkably adaptive cognitive machinery.

Stanovich argues that to fully characterize differences in rational thinking, we need to replace dual-process theories with tripartite models of cognition. Using a unique individual differences approach, he shows that the traditional second system System 2 of dual-process theory must be further divided into the reflective mind and the algorithmic mind. Distinguishing them will allow us to better appreciate the significant differences in their key functions: The key function of the reflective mind is to detect the need to interrupt autonomous processing and to begin simulation activities, whereas that of the algorithmic mind is to sustain the processing of decoupled secondary representations in cognitive simulation.

He presents the empirical data to show that the tendency to make these thinking errors is not highly related to intelligence. Using his tripartite model of cognition, Stanovich shows how, when both are properly defined, rationality is a more encompassing construct than intelligence, and that IQ tests fail to assess individual differences in rational thought. He then goes on to discuss the types of thinking processes that would be measured if rational thinking were to be assessed as IQ has been. West and Maggie E.

Keith E. He is the author of five other books and over scientific publications on various topics in cognitive psychology. The price listed on this page is the recommended retail price for Japan.