Exploiting Ambiguity in traits/skills

If a trait of skill you’re being asked about is helpfully ambiguous, you interpret the question to suit your own idiosyncratic strengths.

Consider driving. Ask someone if they are a good driver, and if they are good at following the speed limit and using their directional, they will focus on that fact and not the 3 accidents they have had in the last 3 months.  Another driver who is able to whip into parking spots with exquisite precision will focus on that fact and not the multiple speeding tickets they get.

When asked, people will modestly and reluctantly confess that they are, for example, more ethical, more nobly motivated employees, and better drivers than the average person. The law of averages makes this impossible, of course.

All from CH 1 of Fine’s book with the experiments to back it up.

Keep in mind that your vain brain is protecting you by telling you that you wouldn’t be so vain.

What Carly SImon should have sung: “You’re so vain, you probably think this song is not about you.”



More on the way.


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