In essence, the optimistic style involves taking credit for successes but little blame for failures.
…the proper way to elicit information from a group is not by starting with a public discussion but by confidentially collecting each person’s judgment. This procedure makes better use of the knowledge available to members of the group than the common practice of open discussion.
(he said this only slightly differently earlier, but it is both broader and more concise here, and bears repeating)
In other words, do not trust anyone–including yourself–to tell you how much you should trust their judgment.
…Meehl and other proponents of algorithms have argued strongly that it is unethical to rely on intuitive judgments for important decisions if an algorithm is available that will make fewer mistakes. Their rational argument is compelling, but it runs against a stubborn psychological reality: for most people, the cause of a mistake matters. The story of a child dying because an algorithm made a mistake is more poignant than the story of the same tragedy occurring as a result of human error, and the difference in emotional intensity is readily translated into a moral preference.
The evidence is fragmentary, but there are solid grounds for a conjecture: conducting an interview is likely to diminish the accuracy of a selection procedure, if the interviewers also make the final admission decisions. Because interviewers are overconfident in their intuitions, they will assign too much weight to their personal impressions and too little weight to other sources of information, lowering validity.
It is wise to take admissions of uncertainty seriously, but declarations of high confidence mainly tell you that an individual has constructed a coherent story in his mind, not necessarily that the story is true.
In the presence of randomness, regular patterns can only be mirages.
A general limitation of the human mind is its imperfect ability to reconstruct past states of knowledge, or beliefs that have changed. Once you adopt a new view of the world (or of any part of it), you immediately lose much of your ability to recall what you used to believe before your mind changed.
(YANSS 124, “Belief Change Blindness,” focused on this)
You cannot help dealing with the limited information you have as if it were all there is to know. You build the best possible story from the information available to you, and if it is a good story, you believe it. Paradoxically, it is easier to construct a coherent story when you know little, when there are fewer pieces to fit into the puzzle. Our comforting conviction that the world makes sense rests on a secure foundation: our almost unlimited ability to ignore our ignorance.
The discovery I made on that day was that the flight instructors were trapped in an unfortunate contingency: because they punished cadets when performance was poor, they were mostly rewarded by a subsequent improvement, even if punishment was actually ineffective. Furthermore, the instructors were not alone in that predicament. I had stumbled onto a significant fact of the human condition: the feedback to which life exposes us is perverse. Because we tend to be nice to other people when they please us and nasty when they do not, we are statistically punished for being nice and rewarded for being nasty.