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How “Science Says” Blinds Human Brains From Thinking Clearly

How “Science Says” Blinds Human Brains From Thinking Clearly

“Lies, damned lies, and statistics!” Have you heard this phrase before? It demonstrates how people can use statistics to strengthen arguments, specifically weak arguments.

    This simple comic demonstrates a logical fallacy we often fall for. We have all deferred to an expert or a position of authority before, yet how do we know they were accurate? This is called Authority Bias. Let’s take a look at how this works:[1]

    1. Person X is an authority in a particular field.
    2. Person X says something about a topic in their respective field.
    3. Person X is probably correct because they’re an expert.

    Another form of bias we typically fall victim to is Confirmation Bias. This occurs from the direct influence of desire on our beliefs. If we wish a certain idea or concept to be true, we end up believing it to be true. This leads to completely ignoring or rejecting information because we have already formed and embraced a specific belief. [2]

    We can never be 100% confident.

      A skeptical mind is a good thing. We can be 100% confident that we can never be 100% confident!

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      Let me show you what I mean through the use of hypothesis testing. What comes to mind when you hear a “not guilty” decision? Do you think there is any chance the person could have actually been guilty? A “not guilty” verdict could mean different things. For example, it could mean the jury was absolutely sure the person didn’t commit the crime (still we can never be 100%) or they were pretty sure the person didn’t commit the crime and had a reasonable doubt.

        If a jury were to convict an innocent person, this would be a Type I Error. Alternatively, by not convicting a guilty person, this would be Type II Error. Hypothesis testing reminds me of a quote from Benjamin Franklin,

        “It is better to let 100 guilty men go free than to convict one innocent man.”

          So, what can we do to overcome bias? Let’s look at a couple techniques… but first, let me ask you a simple question.

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          Knowing that we can never be 100% confident, could Einstein have been wrong? The answer is a profound yes. In fact, scientists behind a theory that the speed of light is variable, and not constant as Einstein suggested, have made a prediction they plan to test. [3] So, if one of the smartest people in history could have been wrong, this should demonstrate that anyone can be wrong.

          Always try to prove yourself wrong.

          What would happen if we always tried to prove ourselves wrong? Typically, we accept the hypothesis. If we try to look for evidence, the natural course for us is to seek out evidence confirming the hypothesis. Yet, by doing this, we ignore the fact that the evidence could provide us a different explanation. [4]

          “We are trying to prove ourselves wrong as quickly as possible, because only in that way can we find progress.” – Richard Feynman

          Use the rule of 3.

          Another powerful technique is the Rule of 3. Here you identify three potential causes for each issue. A study published in the Journal of Accounting Research revealed that auditors who develop three hypotheses are actually more efficient at identifying misstatements through the use of analytical procedures. [5]

          Let’s take a look at how Andy Snyder recommends using the Rule of 3 tactic. [6]

          • Train yourself to understand that what you first believe is not necessarily right or wrong. It is likely somewhere in the middle.
          • Create 3 distinct hypotheses as you work to discover the truth. By tracking 3 distinct ideas, it forces us to go beyond right or wrong. It forces us to explore the gray areas.
          • Strive to update your beliefs and reward yourself when you do. Snyder says this is the hallmark of a finely tuned mind.

          I also have another unique way to attack this issue. Let’s take a look.

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          Blinded by Numbers + Bias = Hypothesis

          Your hypothesis becomes the outcome.

          Here’s my Hypothesis for bias (using deductive reasoning)

          • Premise #1: People are easily convinced by statistics.
          • Premise #2: Statistics are difficult to understand, so people fail to question them.
          • Premise #3: People fail to question the experts.

          Conclusion: Therefore, people blindly defer to the experts.

          So, what can you do? Follow my winning formula Solution – Hypothesis = New Outcome.

          My Solution for overcoming bias:

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            • Step #1: Become aware of your bias.
            • Step #2: Remember your purpose or objective. Numbers are only indicators, so let them only serve as such and not your conclusion.
            • Step #3: Use a technique to develop your hypothesis (i.e. Prove Yourself Wrong or the Rule of 3)
            • Step #4: Use Argument Maps.

              Lastly, let’s end by looking at a famous parable – The Blind Men and an Elephant. This is the story of a group of blind men and their first encounter with an elephant. They learn how to conceptualize the elephant by touching it. They each feel different parts of the elephant’s body (each man only feels one part). They then describe the elephant to each other based on their partial experience. They argue as each description is in complete disagreement with one another. [7]

              The moral of the story is the following: We all have a tendency to project our own experiences; however, we project them as the entire truth. We should strive to consider that we might be partially correct, yet we only have a small chunk of the whole. We must become aware of the bigger picture, not just our chunk of information.

              Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

              Reference

              More by this author

              Dr. Jamie Schwandt

              Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt & Red Team Critical Thinker

              5 Proven Memorization Techniques to Make the Most of Your Memory 10 Hacks to Increase Your Brain IQ, Focus and Creativity 9 Game Changing Tips on How to Write Goals (and Reach Them!) Creative Brain Test: 10 Best Ways To Test Your Creative Intelligence How to Be a Maverick and Develop a Maverick Mindset

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              1 How SMART Goal Setting Makes Lasting Changes in Your Life 2 7 Clever Goal Tracker Apps to Make the Most of Your Business in 2019 3 The Surefire Method to Set Long Term Goals and Reach Success 4 17 Smart Tips on Setting Goals to Accomplish More in Life 5 Smart Goals Template to Help Leaders Attain Success Easily

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              Last Updated on February 15, 2019

              7 Clever Goal Tracker Apps to Make the Most of Your Business in 2019

              7 Clever Goal Tracker Apps to Make the Most of Your Business in 2019

              There’s nothing more fulfilling than the sense of accomplishment you get by achieving your business goals.

              Gone are the days when you used pen and paper to take notes and manage your work day. As millennials are relying heavily on technology to manage almost everything from finances to their personal fitness, goal tracking apps are also becoming increasingly popular.[1]

              In this piece, we will shed some light on 7 such goal tracking apps that you can use to streamline your operations.

              I have handpicked these apps from a software rating web services site Best Online Reviews. Industry experts review software on these websites and help businesses to find the right solutions to meet their various, unique business requirements.

              1. Aha!

                Aha! is a California-based roadmap software provider and offers excellent goal tracking app that lets you define goals and objectives for projects. The app also lets you list out primary tasks and allows you to focus on them.

                Hosted securely on the cloud, the app offers enhanced communication tools for sharing updates through emails with select colleagues or the entire organization.

                Aha! is available on multiple platforms such as the web, Android, iOS, Windows, etc. and starts from $59 per month per user.

                Available for Web

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                2. Asana

                  Asana is one of the more popular project management apps available for businesses. It lets you organize all your team’s work, such as setting up and tracking goals, creating tasks, sharing files and notes, etc.

                  Asana also allows your team to organize all their tasks and focus on urgent priorities. Moreover, the app offers a delightful user experience that makes task management simple and easy.

                  Asana is available on multiple platforms from PCs and Mac to iOS and Android. Multi-channel adaptability makes Asana the perfect choice to track your goals anytime, from anywhere.

                  Available for iOS | Android | Web

                  3. Basecamp

                    Basecamp is an excellent tool to manage all your team’s projects and keep your activities organized. It opens a new thread for every task and that task is visible by the whole team.

                    With Basecamp, you can schedule tasks, add to-dos, discuss tasks by adding comments, add files and attachments, and much more.

                    The app is available on both mobile and desktop platforms and costs $99 per month. It is available on the web, Android, and iOS platforms and offers excellent multi-channel access.

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                    Available for iOS | Android | Web

                    4. Forecast

                      An efficient tool for successful task management, Forecast is also a popular goal tracking app. Apart from effective milestone tracking, the app also offers convenient status reporting.

                      Forecast uses project history to let you know the status of your current work. Moreover, it uses the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to provide high-quality assistance. It is a robust app for small teams to track goals and time.

                      Forecast is available for free and comes with Android and iOS app support. The premium version of the app starts from $19 per month per user.

                      Available for Web

                      5. Wrike

                        Wrike is a cloud-based collaboration and project management app that successfully manages projects from start to finish. It lets you create tasks, track work progress and retrieve reports with ease.

                        The app also gives real-time work updates and helps team members to understand their work priorities. A custom report builder helps you to generate in-depth reporting.

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                        Wrike’s premium version is available from $9.80 per month per user and is available on multiple platforms.

                        Available for iOS | Android | Web

                        6. Todo.vu

                          Todo.vu is a unique platform that delivers enhanced customer relationship management (CRM), task management, time tracking, and billing functionality in a single app.

                          According to Capterra, it’s an ideal app for freelancers and consultants, who are looking for tools to improve efficiency and transparency.

                          Although the app is free to use with basic features, the premium plan starts from $5 per month per user. The app also comes with calendar sync and task reminder functionality to keep you on track, always.

                          Available for Web

                          7. Flock

                            Looking for a tool to simplify task management? Try out Flock.

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                            Flock comes with enhanced goal tracking and additional features like instant messaging.

                            Moreover, Flock offers tons of integrations with tools such as Google, MailChimp, Jira, Dropbox, etc. It is a powerful tool that’s packed with robust features such as reminders, notes, polls and to-dos.

                            Even though you can use the tool for free, the paid version of Flock is available from $4.50 per month per user.

                            Available for iOS | Android | Web

                            Conclusion

                            Businesses need high-quality project management tools to streamline collaboration and operations. Enhanced goal tracking apps make it easy for your team to improve productivity by keeping its tasks organized.

                            But it’s essential that you choose an app that meets your unique business requirements. You can choose from the above-mentioned apps to streamline operations and improve the productivity of your team.

                            Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

                            Reference

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