Topic IX. Seeing Patterns in Random Noise
Context for this filter:
- B. CONCEPT ACQUISITION
- People tend to see any regularity as a pattern (i.e., see more signal than there is), even when “patterns” occur by chance (i.e. are pure noise), e.g.: People underestimate the frequency of apparent patterns produced by randomness, leading to overperception of spurious signal much more frequently than people account for. (Events that are just coincidental are much more likely than most people expect.)
- Exemplary Quotes
- If I ace a test every time I wear a certain t-shirt, then over time I might begin to attribute my success to the t-shirt and continue wearing it, deeming it "lucky". This could easily just be coincidence, but since I notice this pattern of correlation I am likely to keep up the pattern until it fails me.
- Cautionary Quotes: Mistakes, Misconceptions, & Misunderstandings
- "If you draw lines correctly between the stars, you can make out a message from the aliens. You just have to know which stars to connect to see the message."
- C. CONCEPT APPLICATION
- Recognize and explain the flaw in everyday scenarios in which people mistake noise for signal (e.g. Look Elsewhere Effect, gambler’s fallacy, hot-hand effect).