Discussion Questions: Week 3 (October 13)
1. Biases and the description of events (Red)
- Do the biases and heuristics involved in decision making affect
judgments about 'what happened', giving rise to potential differences between
individuals in their perception and descriptions of events?
- If biases do affect judgments about what happened, what does imply
about the notion of 'objective reality' --- or at least for the question
of how reliable different assessments of what happened (in the context
of particular events) actually are?
- What are the (social, legal, philosophical, ...) implications of this
issue, in particular of insecurity in the reliability of different individuals'
descriptions of the same event?
2. The persistence of irrational thinking (Blue)
To address this question, it is important to consider two more basic questions:
- Why are the effects of biases and heuristics on decision making so strong ---
perhaps even unavoidable --- even when we know (or can be shown) that they lead
to incorrect results compared to logical or probabilistic reasoning?
- Why are biases and heuristics active in decision making/reasoning in the first place?
- Are heuristics in reasoning the functional counterparts of the sort of
reflexive perceptual judgments made in lower-level cognitive processes like
vision? (I.e., is the 'automatic' nature of biases comparable to the way in
which we automatically percieve a cube in the examples discussed in class
3. Decision making and social context (Green)
- To what extent are judgments and decisions determined by factors that are internal
to an individual mind (objective assessments of the world) vs. determined by
external features of an individual's social context?
- How can we quantify the role of social context in affecting judgment
and decision making?
- Why might social context influence decision making? Why aren't judgments
and decisions strictly determined by internal characteristics of the mind?