Tag Archives: error


Strawman Fallacy

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The latest episode of the You Are Not So Smart podcast touches on a great example of self-delusion that we haven’t covered here yet. In this episode, David McRaney interviews Jesse Richardson of “Your Logical Fallacy Is”, a site that I am definitely going to have to check out about the strawman fallacy.

     Person A: Soup is delicious
     Person B: I tried soup once. It was terrible. Therefore you are wrong.

Annual Meeting Banner

HFES 2015 Keynote Address John Nance

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For the remainder of the week we will be featuring post from the HFES 2015 Annual Meeting.

This year’s keynote will be presented by John Nance during the Tuesdaymorning Opening Plenary Session. Nance is a well-known advocate of using the lessons from the recent revolution in aviation safety to revolutionize the patient safety performance of hospitals, doctors, nurses, and others within the health-care domain. His talk, entitled “The Carbon-Based Conundrum,” will deal with the concept that it is only through accepting the inevitability of error that we can eliminate human-caused disasters. As
Nance puts it, “The key to zero disasters is zero denial.”

pac man

Game Training to Reduce Bias

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There has been a long history of movements in the business, psychology, and human factors communities to help people overcome the natural tendencies in decision making that often lead us astray. You know – what we often refer to as biases but that evolved to help us make fast, frugal decisions in the muddy context we call the real world.

If you believe this article in Harvard Business Review, a team of researchers led by Carey Morewedge at Boston University may have discovered a viable approach. They used a serious game to train participants in intelligence analysis.

group of people talking

The Devil’s Idiot

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Another great case of serendipitous discovery. Is the devil’s idiot a better team deliberation assignment than the devil’s advocate? I heard this as a joke on NCIS Los Angeles, but I think there is some good truth behind it. My Take I have often recommended that team’s should have an officially designated devil’s advocate when deliberating. Two of the biggest risks that teams face are groupthink and information cascades. Groupthink is when teams have similar assumptions and experience so they gravitate towards similar solutions. They…

2 Figurines Talking

Salient Myth versus Quiet Reality

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As I am sure many of you know, we learn through differences. This is why extreme examples in our experience stick in our minds whereas average and typical experiences blend into the background. When learning a new schema, we see how it is different from other things we know and define it according to those differences.

Unfortunately, that can get us into trouble, semantically speaking. When something stands out we remember it better. And then subsequently we suffer from availability bias. The exceptions are what come to mind most easily and we jump to the incorrect conclusion that they are the most common.

siri mic

Speech Recognition v Voice Recognition

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A new feature for the iPhone and iPad is a great demonstration of the difference between speech recognition and voice recognition. Many people use the terms interchangeably and don’t seem to realize the important difference. So I will use this as an excuse to edify.

Although unconfirmed by Apple, the discovery in iOS 9.1 suggests that Siri will be able to begin detecting specific user voices and determine whether or not the owner of the iPhone in question is speaking to her.

traffic light

History of Traffic Signals

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I am happy to share a new theme that we are starting today that will appear now and again on EID. As many of you know, I a big fan of history. It is a cliché to say that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. But there is a lot we can learn from the scientific, legal, and cultural practices of our ancestors as well as from those around the world that our ancestors never even knew existed. That is the notion in which we are going to frame this new history theme.

I was listening to the Dinner Party Download podcast (a fun weekend diversion if you are interested) and I heard this story about the history of traffic lights. The human factors of the original design immediately jumped to mind, even if they didn’t call it by that name back in 1868 when the first gas powered lamps were used or 1914 when they switched to electric.

an empty witness stand

Tunnel Vision Memories

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A recent study in Learning & Memory has some important implications for human factors practitioners. What they found probably won’t surprise you, but might not be something you have considered before.

Most theories of memory assume that representations are strengthened with repetition. We recently proposed Competitive Trace Theory, building on the hippocampus’ powerful capacity to orthogonalize inputs into distinct outputs.