Abandon Text!

W. H. Auden once said: "Poems are not finished; they are abandoned." I have been abandoning writing projects for many years, since only the pressure of deadline and high expectations ever got me to finish, or even start, anything of merit. This blog is an attempt to create a more consistent, self-directed writing habit. Hopefully a direction and voice will emerge.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Of course I'm biased

Kenny sent around an article from the New York Times about psychological studies of bias in judgement. The research generally found that most people were more biased than they thought they were, but less biased than other people expected them to be. Which makes sense . . . whenever I heard people complaining about "how could so-and-so do that and live with himself?", I usually replied, "There are plenty of assholes in the world, but nobody thinks they're an asshole."

I have long been aware of my own biases, especially in terms of financial motiviation, (see my previous posts) which is why I went to such Herculean lengths to make sure my compensation was closely aligned to the interests of the company. It's so much easier to do the right thing when you know that all the expected biases are pointing in the right direction.

I tried, upon reading the article, to think of other ways that I'm biased and don't recognize it. It's really, really hard. I know that odds are good that I will be biased in my opinion of my kids, especially on esthetic questions . . . yet I truly, firmly believe it is an objective fact that I have the best-looking kids that I know of. I know that I'm biased in my opinion of my own abilities . . . and yet I can count on one hand the number of people that I know for a fact are smarter than me.

What I find myself thinking about the most is the subject of Law . . . how in the world can a judge recognize his or her biases, or in the biases of the arguments presented? What kind of psychological preparation would they need to be able to hear a case fairly?


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