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Robyn Dawes defines irrationality as adhering to beliefs that are inherently self-contradictory, not just incorrect, self-defeating, or the basis of poor decisions. Such beliefs are unfortunately common. Witness two examples: the belief that child sexual abuse can be diagnosed by observing symptoms typically resulting from such abuse, rather than symptoms that differentiate between abused and non-abused children; and the belief that a physical or personal disaster can be understood by studying it alone in-depth rather than by comparing the situation in which it occurred to similar situations where nothing bad happened. This book first demonstrates how such irrationality results from ignoring obvious comparisons. Such neglect is traced to associational and story-based thinking, while true rational judgment requires comparative thinking. Strong emotion--or even insanity--is one reason for making automatic associations without comparison, but as the author demonstrates, a lot of everyday judgment, unsupported professional claims, and even social policy is based on the same kind of irrationality.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780813340265
ISBN-10: 0813340268
Format: Paperback
(229mm x 152mm x 14mm)
Pages: 240
Imprint: Westview Press Inc
Publisher: The Perseus Books Group
Publish Date: 5-Dec-2002
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - Robyn Dawes

Robyn M. Dawes is the author of over 150 articles and four books, the latest being House of Cards, and Rational Choice in an Uncertain World, which won the William James Award from the American Psychological Association. He has degrees from Harvard, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and is now teaching at the Carnegie Mellon University. He lives in Pittsburgh, PA.