The human brain is old and quaint stuff. Faced with a new unknown situation, he almost always throws out a thorough analysis and instead refers to the set of mental templates – that almost always leads to the wrong decision. And, apparently, the smarter you are, the more likely you make a similar mistake.
A study published in the "Journal of Personality and Social Psychology," says that you can be extremely smart and still fall victim to mistakes when it comes simple problems because of the distortion in judgment, known as "cognitive bias".
To deal with this, a team of researchers from the University of Toronto gave 482 students questionnaire classic problems of bias. Here is an example of a question from it:
A bat and a ball cost a dollar and ten cents. Bat costs a dollar more than the ball. How much is the ball?
If you hurry, we can assume that the ball costs ten cents. But this is not true – he is worth five cents. If you went in the wrong direction, so your brain chose the pattern, which from his point of view makes sense, completely throwing out of my head math. (If you think that anyone who is able to make a mistake in this matter is ignorant, keep in mind that more than fifty percent of students from Harvard, Princeton and mit gave the wrong answers.)
The researchers also evaluated the phenomenon known as "anchor bias", but what they were really interested in this case is the study of how the bias is correlated with intelligence. So they diluted tests cognitive tests.
The results were unnerving. First, awareness of the tendency to prejudice does not help. As explained by researchers: "People who know their biases were not better in overcoming them".
And, it seems that intelligence makes things worse. In his article, scientists explain that "Participants with a deeper cognitive ability and showed more extensive blind spots in their prejudices". And in fact – and this observation was confirmed by many different sorts of people who have long pondered the task was even more prone to make mistakes.
So what happens? Why smart people sometimes show themselves as stupid? Unfortunately, no one knows. The best available hypothesis suggests that this has to do with how we perceive ourselves and others. Simplistically, the way we process information, as suggested by some scholars, allows us to easily notice the bias in the judgments of others than in their own.
As a result, is not clear – what can be done to solve this problem.