Hi! My name is Laurie Santos.
I teach psychology at Yale University,
and today I want to talk to you about the GI Joe fallacy.
This lecture is in the series on cognitive biases.
If you’ve watched a bunch of these videos,
you’ve probably gotten a bit better at noticing your biases at work
and knowing that you might fall prey to them.
You might also think that knowing about your biases would
naturally, make you less susceptible to them.
Unfortunately, it’s not always that simple.
if you think knowing your biases is all you need to overcome them,
then you’d be falling prey yet another bias:
the GI Joe fallacy.
If you’re a child of the nineteen-eighties,
then you might have a guess about where the name from this bias comes from.
Yes, it’s from that cartoon known as”GI Joe.”
Maybe you remember how these shows ended.
Each episode had a sort of cheesy public service announcement that
ended with the show’s famous epithet:
“Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.”
The problem with this idea,
the idea that knowing is half the battle,
The cognitive science has shown us
that merely knowing about our biases is
often way less than half the battle.
Now there are certainly some cases where knowing is half the battle:
Knowing your multiplication tables, for example,
or knowing which aisle the milk is in.
But there are many more where it’s not the case,
cases where just knowing something
doesn’t really help us all that much.
For example, you may know that standing on the Grand Canyon Skywalk
is perfectly safe,
but your mind will still feel like it’s pretty scary.
You may know that arbitrary anchors can mess up your final judgment,
but you still feel like it’s best to get five chocolates
when you see a “five for five dollars” sign.
Finally, you may know that different wordings can affect your intuitions.
But you still may be more hesitant to take a risk involving lives lost than lives saved.
Years and years of research on cognitive bias has shown
that knowing or recognizing yourself as having information
is only a small part of what controls our behavior.
In day to day situations,
most of our behavioral control comes from other progress,
like our habits.
with the situations we find ourselves in
and not from our conscience selves.
This is why shaping our situations
to nudge our behavior in the right direction.
Or even just learning to regulate your emotions
over time can be really powerful.
The funniest part of the GI Joe fallacy
is that even knowing about it
and the fallacy would protect is less than half the battle.
Even if you know knowing is half the battle,
you still have a tendency to think that way
you consciously know is a main thing that controls your behavior.
But it’s not.
Even if you watch all of these videos
you’re still going to be subject to the same effects that the videos described.
For most cognitive biases including the GI Joe fallacy
knowing is not even half of the battle.
So now you know
and that’s less than half the battle.
Hi! My name is Laurie Santos.