Monday, January 21, 2013

if facebook was a country blah blah blah

Once upon a time I was that douchebag.

The one who trotted out 'facts' and stats about social media or whatever was the thing at the time. To be fair I never used the 'if facebook was a country' one but it's one of the most 'available' examples that most of us recognise.

Until an old boss of mine forced me to reconsider this behaviour.

Every time I quoted some number or other he challenged me with the same question.

'So what?'

To illustrate, the following is an excerpt from TFAS that I've pulled from my Kindle highlights and one which has been rattling round my head this weekend.

The core of DK's schtick is, of course, intuitive heuristics - meaning that when faced with a difficult question, we often answer an another, easier, question instead, usually without even noticing what we did.

"People who are taught surprising statistical facts about human behavior may be impressed to the point of telling their friends about what they have heard, but this does not mean that their understanding of the world has really changed...

The whether your understanding of situations you encounter has changed, not whether you have learned a new fact...

There is a deep gap between our thinking about statistics and our thinking about individual cases. Statistical results with a causal interpretation have a stronger effect on our thinking than noncausal information...

But even compelling causal statistics will not change long-held beliefs or beliefs rooted in personal experience...

You are more likely to learn something by finding surprises in your own behavior than by hearing surprising facts about people in general".

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