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What Intelligence Tests Miss 6,7: Cognitive Misers, Framing

01/30/2013

A summary of some common cognitive miser problems- framing (it’s easier to let the situation set the default point), use of heuristics like salience, visibility, accessiblity.

Kindle Notes:

Kahneman and Frederick describe a trick that we cognitive misers use all the time in order to lighten our cognitive load. The trick is called attribute substitution, and it occurs when a person needs to assess attribute A but finds that assessing attribute B (which is correlated with A) is easier cognitively and so uses B instead. In simpler terms, attribute substitution amounts to substituting an easier question for a harder one (900).

The cognitive miser is very sensitive to vivid presentations of information (943).

A friend drives you 20 miles to the airport where you are getting on a plane for a trip of about 750 miles. Your friend is likely to say, “Have a safe trip,” as you part. This parting comment turns out to be sadly ironic, because your friend is three times more likely to die in a car accident on the 20-mile trip back home than you are on your flight of 750 miles (945).

subjects of higher intelligence are somewhat less likely to show irrational framing effects when cued (by the appearance of both problem versions) that an issue of consistency is at stake; but they are no more likely to avoid framing without such cues (1255).

The point is that, increasingly, cognitive science is coming to a shocking conclusion-a conclusion so important in its ramifications that it deserves to be set apart: Intelligent people perform better only when you tell them what to do! (1257).

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