London Atheist Activist Group (informal community) Message Board 1. MAIN FORUM - (non-Islam) › Another New Sci article about rationality

Another New Sci article about rationality

Alex D
SeeksTruthNboobs
London, GB
Post #: 354
We need two measures of mental effectiveness: IQ for Intelligence, and RQ for Rationality (= 'non-stupidity').

ARTICLE SUMMARY: Research confirms the division between rational and intuitive mental processing systems, that IQ only measures the former, and that people with high IQs can be very 'stupid' (read: irrational); proposes development of a "Rationality Quotient" to measure our ability to overcome the intuitive; suggests RQ is not primarily down to genes or upbringing but to thinking patterns trainable as an adult - good news!

FULL TEXT: Stupidity - what makes people do dumb things
(Again, you may need to be a subscriber to see the whole article. I could email individually on request; I'm hesitant to post the full text here due to copyright concerns. Though I have been thinking about contacting New Sci to see whether permission could be granted to post full text of selected articles on this site as there is so much of their stuff which seems relevant.)

ALSO: Time to get smarter about stupidity
The research was the subject of that week's editorial - which you should be able to read in full.

EXCERPT: When we process information, our brain can access two different systems. IQ tests measure only one of these, the deliberative processing that plays a key role in conscious problem-solving. Yet our default position in everyday life is to use our intuition.
To begin with, these intuitive mechanisms gave us an evolutionary advantage, offering cognitive shortcuts that help deal with information overload. They include cognitive biases such as stereotyping, confirmation bias, and resistance to ambiguity – the temptation to accept the first solution to a problem even if it is obviously not the best.
While these evolved biases, called "heuristics", may help our thinking in certain situations, they can derail our judgement if we rely on them uncritically. For this reason, the inability to recognise or resist them is at the root of stupidity.
Because it has nothing to do with your IQ, to truly understand human stupidity you need a separate test that examines our susceptibility to bias. One candidate comes from Keith Stanovich, a cognitive scientist at the University of Toronto in Canada, who is working on a rationality quotient (RQ) to assess our ability to transcend cognitive bias.
Consider the following question, which tests the ambiguity effect: Jack is looking at Anne but Anne is looking at George. Jack is married but George is not. Is a married person looking at an unmarried person? Possible answers are "yes", "no", or "cannot be determined". The vast majority of people will say it "cannot be determined", simply because it is the first answer that comes to mind – but careful deduction shows the answer is "yes".
RQ would also measure risk intelligence, which defines our ability to calibrate the likelihood of certain probabilities. For example, we tend to overestimate our chances of winning the lottery and underestimate the chance of getting divorced. Poor risk intelligence can cause us to choose badly without any notion that we're doing so.
So what determines whether you have naturally high RQ? Unlike IQ, RQ isn't down to your genes or nurture factors from your childhood. More than anything, it depends on something called metacognition, which is the ability to assess the validity of your own knowledge. People with high RQ have acquired strategies that boost this self-awareness. One simple approach would be to take your intuitive answer to a problem and consider its opposite before coming to the final decision. This helps you develop keen awareness of what you know and don't know.

Georgi L.
Guffaw
London, GB
Post #: 1,384
Fascinating. And I guess we knew this but didn't have the official measures for it. If you could email it to me that'd be great Alex, thanks.

And also, is anyone else stuck on the Jack/Anne/George question - can't see how it can be 'yes'? Please enlighten me!
Alex D
SeeksTruthNboobs
London, GB
Post #: 356
Fascinating. And I guess we knew this but didn't have the official measures for it. If you could email it to me that'd be great Alex, thanks.

Done

And also, is anyone else stuck on the Jack/Anne/George question - can't see how it can be 'yes'? Please enlighten me!

Jack is looking at Anne but Anne is looking at George. Jack is married but George is not. Is a married person looking at an unmarried person? Possible answers are "yes", "no", or "cannot be determined".
If Anne is married then Anne is a married person looking at an unmarried person; if Anne is unmarried then Jack is a married person looking at an unmarried person.

I'm surprised to find out that you're irrational, Ginny! And one of our leaders, too... maybe a demotion is in order?
(It took me quite a bit of head-scratching, so I'm glad to hear I'm not the only 'stupid' wink )
Valentin B.
OmniaCausaFiunt
Chatham, GB
Post #: 1
Interesting indeed.

I've read some psychology books, and I realized that IQ tests are limited. I also saw a great documentary about its flaws.

To make my point briefly, consider this: in order to survive in nature, you have to solve crucial problems not only with your intelligence, but with your imagination, focus, time reaction and make decisions under emotional stress, and other things that your brain is capable of.

To a group of people from which some where Quantum Physicians, Painters, Music Composers, Photographers, even people with no preoccupation, they were given an IQ test, and then they had been put in to some practical problem situations to solve. One situation that I can remember now was when each person had some limited time to pull out a cork from a champagne bottle using some wire, flour, water, lace, cloth and other stuff. Surprising, only one or two succeeded, and they where not the ones who scored hi in the IQ test. Most where starting by using the wire, but, to pull out the cork, it had to put inside the mouth bottle a corner from the cloth, and let the cork to slip into it, and then pull the cloth out with the cork...

I have reached to the conclusion that our reaction in facing day to day problems are very different then that of a paper test that marks you with an IQ score. I don't deny its importance in educational achievement or job performance, but it doesn't underline the true quality of a person.

Any way, I bet that these researchers in "Rationality Quotient" are doing progress, but I'm skeptic about it.

I don't know, what are your opinions?
Georgi L.
Guffaw
London, GB
Post #: 1,387


I'm surprised to find out that you're irrational, Ginny! And one of our leaders, too... maybe a demotion is in order?
(It took me quite a bit of head-scratching, so I'm glad to hear I'm not the only 'stupid' wink )

Ohhhh! and DOH! Demotion is deserved crying Sometimes these puzzles need some time but my impatience gets the better of me ( excuses excuses!). But this might be part of RQ anyway, as in what Valentin is saying " you have to solve crucial problems not only with your intelligence, but with your imagination, focus, time reaction and make decisions under emotional stress, and other things that your brain is capable of"

Writing it down/making a diagramme is a good way of solving this kind of stuff sometimes (take my advice as I'm clearly not using it!) But we probably all know some highly intelligent people, who are geniuses in their own fields but you wonder how they actually manage to survive as they're so clueless with the 'normal' world. Is that what you mean Valentin?

(And Alex, do I at least get points for not pretending that I had worked it out? tongue I think those that don't know/don't admit that they're sometimes not as rational as they think they are, are the really crazy ones - the rest of us are just moderately crazy?)
Alex D
SeeksTruthNboobs
London, GB
Post #: 357
The truly irrational will continue asserting that their wrong answer is the correct one even after it has been proved wrong. (I know plenty of people who do just this. And they tend to be the same people who emotionally insist that all opinions should be treated equally. Because they know theirs can't actually be substantiated, so must be treated with 'respect' rather than investigated.)
Georgi L.
Guffaw
London, GB
Post #: 1,389
The truly irrational will continue asserting that their wrong answer is the correct one even after it has been proved wrong. (I know plenty of people who do just this. And they tend to be the same people who emotionally insist that all opinions should be treated equally. Because they know theirs can't actually be substantiated, so must be treated with 'respect' rather than investigated.)


Well yes, for a species that's illogical and yet believe our own fallacies it's a wonder how we got to where we are now. I'm reminded of this:

"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.”

Daniel Kahneman in “Thinking Fast and Slow” (2012)
Jason
SweynTUV
London, GB
Post #: 14

"Our comforting conviction that the world makes sense rests on a secure foundation; our almost unlimited ability to ignore our ignorance.”

Daniel Kahneman in “Thinking Fast and Slow” (2012)

This is very perceptive. I am always struck by the stark contrast between how those of us that aspire to be rational factor in our own mental capacity, compared to those that have fallen into the vortex. Rational folks tend to confront their own ignorance and know that their ability to comprehend something has no bearing on the reality or truth of anything. The universe is the way it is and when it we don't understand it, it is us that has to change. In contrast, how often do we hear believers use phrases such as "It is impossible to explain how...xyz can be the case"? Well it might be impossible for you chum, but are you so confident that your brain operates at the pinnacle of human intellectual capacity that you can speak for everyone? And even if it is currently too difficult for every person on the planet to explain xyz, the universe doesn't care. Xyz may still well be true and if that's where careful investigation is leading us, then we need to get our collective head around it.

That the universe is as full as it is of regularities that we can get our heads around seems amazing but it is after all what has allowed us to evolve. It is us that are tuned to it, not the other way around and our senses are only tuned into its regularities to the extent they had to be for us to get to this point. Those in the vortex get this backwards. For them the universe is tuned in to them personally and so must be understandable by them personally. Anything they fail to understand is a sign of a creator deliberately withholding that understanding. Anyone that thinks they can explain it is misguided or malicious. And round and round we go.



Alex D
SeeksTruthNboobs
London, GB
Post #: 359
Hope to address other points later (too much whisky in the brain right now) but in the mean time just found this new meetup group whose subject promises relevance to the subject at hand:
London Metacognition Book Club
Alex D
SeeksTruthNboobs
London, GB
Post #: 369
I've taken the liberty of contacting New Scientist's 'Syndication Department' on LAAG's behalf to ask for special dispensation to post full text of a limited number of articles in a closed part of our forum, but their standard policy doesn't make our chances look promising:
Online requests - If you quote less than 200 words from the article and then link back to the full article on our website, reuse is free of charge and you may proceed. We do not allow the reproduction of any of our stories in their entirety on other websites.
Powered by mvnForum

Optional Contribution

GBP10.00 to laag.events@gmail.com

This covers: This is to help with LAAG's activism and the Ministry of Reason project.

Payment is accepted using:

  • PayPal
  • Cash or check - “Please email us and we'll send details. Or see us at any LAAG own meetup (i.e. not EXTERNAL events etc.) Again if in doubt email us.

Refunds are not offered for this Meetup.

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy