We tend to make decisions based on emotion, intuition, gut feel, and wishful thinking. At the same time, we assume these are the wrong tools for decision-making. In our culture, there is a belief that all decisions and all conclusions must be based purely on logic, reason, science, or statistical evidence. It seems that people feel there is something wrong with conclusions or decisions that are arrived at by any means other than cold, calculating logic. (Never mind, for the moment, people’s demonstrated ability to apply logic.) There is an apparent desire to rid ourselves of emotion, morality, and even personal preference when making choices, even though this seems to be contrary to our nature.
This assumption is so deeply ingrained in our culture that we have formally defined decision-making on any other basis as an error. We call it Base Rate Neglect (regarded as a cognitive bias) or Base Rate Fallacy (regarded as a logical fallacy). But which is the true fallacy: The use of non-logical decision-making methods, or the belief that such methods are to be eschewed categorically?
Continue reading The Vulcan choice