More on Cognitive Biases

It must be something in the air today. Zenpundit has a great post about complexity, ideology, and leadership. He talks about how ideologies affect our inputs, and how that can affect decisions. You need to go read this one.

  • Ideologies affect more than our inputs. Did you know that true believers are more likely to lie?

    It sort of makes you wonder about the real value added of these charismatic bosses that got so much press in the 80s and 90s. Could it be that the celebrated CEOs were just lucky (success in business follows a random walk) and we had a bad case of survivor bias?

  • Jason

    I didn’t know that, but it makes sense. We value truths that are useful to us over “real” truths. I have a couple of pop-evolutionary psychology reasons why this might be true, but I haven’t thought of a way to (ethically) test them. Thus, I’m obliged to cast those ideas off into the realm of speculation.

    What you said about CEO’s also strikes me as true. Taleb, in his second edition of Fooled By Randomness, notes that CEO’s of established corporations only tend to make a few big decisions (small sample size), so it is tough to define someone as skillful. I think that he’s a little too quick to dismiss skill, but he does have a point – you can’t prove it exists.

    Somewhat tangentially related, it isn’t always clear that the skills relevant to climbing to the top are directly correlated with the skills necessary to lead a company in a successful direction. We frequently assume that competence in one field corresponds to competence in all fields.

  • J

    “it isn’t always clear that the skills relevant to climbing to the top are directly correlated with the skills necessary to lead a company ”

    I don’t know that that is true so much as that the credentials to skip some of those steps don’t correlate. The champion effect strikes again – http://www.forbes.com/2002/04/25/0425ceoschools.html . Sorry if I’ve posted this link before Rob.