Shortcuts that Undercut

It is interesting that humans try to find meaningful patterns in things that are essentially random.

—Mr. Data, Star Trek, 1992

During the break on Wednesday morning, I kept thinking about Laura’s death. Did Laura commit suicide? Was she murdered? I hoped Phil would get a clear answer today. My mind was in turmoil, waiting to hear, but Phil had not answered my phone calls.

After the break, John Scott made his presentation in class. He began in a hushed voice. “The way we assess chance events is subject to a variety of biases, some of them less obvious than others. Cognitive psychologists have obtained new insights into how we process information about uncertain events. Most of these biases are wired into our thinking ...

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