Improving Wetware

Because technology is never the issue

Cognitive and Social Biases

Posted by Pete McBreen 02 Mar 2019 at 18:15

Of all the places that you would expect to find cognitive bias, Theoretical Physics is not the place

When asked how particle physicists address group-think, Gianotti explains instead why some research avenues require large communities.

You would think that sufficiently much has been written about cognitive biases and logical fallacies that even particle physicists took note, but at least the ones I deal with have no clue. If I ask them what measures they take to avoid cognitive biases when evaluating the promise of a research direction, they will either mention techniques to prevent biased data-analysis (different thing entirely), or they will deny that they even have biases (thereby documenting the very problem whose existence they deny).

Sabine Hossenfelder’s book Lost in Math has a lot more about the background to this.

The obvious fun question that arises from this is where are we doing this in software development?