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Why do we enjoy it when others are wrong, yet hate it when we're wrong?
Old 06-15-2015, 11:26 AM   #1
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Why do we enjoy it when others are wrong, yet hate it when we're wrong?

Not a new TED talk, but interesting? Provocative? Maybe always being "right" isn't what it's cracked up to be, maybe it's a tiny little box that limits us. And it almost seems for many, the older we become, the smaller the box gets.

Kathryn Schulz: On being wrong | TED Talk | TED.com
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Old 06-16-2015, 09:00 PM   #2
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I like being wrong. It happens so seldom it means I'm actually alive.
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Old 06-17-2015, 05:38 AM   #3
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I was wrong once when I thought I was wrong.
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Old 06-17-2015, 05:44 AM   #4
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I am often wrong but never in doubt.
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Old 06-17-2015, 09:12 AM   #5
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Pretty good talk. I seem to be wired differently from most people, because all that she lists as 'surprising' is pretty much how I've lived my life, and I've been aware of this difference for a long time.

I appreciate it when people point out that I'm wrong about something (assuming they are actually using facts/figures/reasoning - not just contradiction). It means I've learned something, and as she says in the talk - I'm no longer living under some false idea that could lead me into trouble. Why would I want to be wrong any longer? Isn't it better to be set straight? Shouldn't we celebrate our new found knowledge, rather than sulk about 'being wrong'?

Yet many people just seem to hate to be wrong, like it is some sort of personal attack, rather than a learning experience. And I think they sometimes will give faulty responses to defend themselves so they don't need to admit to being wrong.

I think she was a little off when she listed reason #3 that someone will disagree with you when you present the facts to them. She assigned it to some selfish, evil motivation. I think that many times, people simply don't want to believe the facts that are being presented, so they present a defense, rational or not.

They may not want to accept the truth because it interferes with some dearly held personal belief, or as the old saying goes 'that truth interferes with their livelihood'. Or there could be personal reasons.

It's why I'm in index funds. I don't think I know more than the market. And on and on.

Does the box get smaller as we age? Hmmmm, maybe in one way, we keep leaning from our mistakes, so there is less 'wrong' left? But it isn't a static box, the world of information keeps growing - there is always something new to be wrong about. Like recently, I thought a light dimmer labeled "works with dim-able CFLs and LEDs" meant what it said - but it doesn't, the LEDS still fluctuate/flicker. So my earlier understanding was wrong, and I will approach the future with this new knowledge, and it should help me in picking dimmers & LEDS.

Or maybe I'm wrong about all that? I dunno.

-ERD50
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Old 06-17-2015, 09:18 AM   #6
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My 4 favorite words are; "I'm wrong, I'm sorry"......that way I learn......no one is right all the time.
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Old 06-17-2015, 09:37 AM   #7
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The difficult part usually happens when another person tells you you are wrong in a domain you are personally and/or emotionally invested in.

Usually either because it's your job or alot of your life choices are connected to a certain belief. It is one of the reasons I think religion and politics get messy really quickly. Or topics like parenting and money.

Few maybe interesting related books:
http://www.amazon.com/On-Being-Certa.../dp/031254152X
Future Babble: Why Pundits Are Hedgehogs and Foxes Know Best: Daniel Gardner: 9780452297579: Amazon.com: Books
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Old 06-17-2015, 09:38 AM   #8
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I think there is a tendency to see things in terms of right vs wrong, black vs white.

Perhaps feeling we are right is a way of self-reassurance that we aren't wrong.

Often it's great to discover one is wrong. In a way, that can be a gift.

I didn't watch the TED talk yet, but will.

Now, if only someone can convince me that the world is not flat .
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Old 06-17-2015, 09:42 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by easysurfer View Post
Now, if only someone can convince me that the world is not flat .
Well actually to a very good approximation, the world is flat!

Asimov - The Relativity of Wrong
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Old 06-17-2015, 10:06 AM   #10
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1) Spouses can privately tell each other when one is wrong in private, but NOT in public?
2) For those who enjoy when others are wrong, how likely they'd readily admit it? Almost zero chance...
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Old 06-17-2015, 10:14 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Totoro View Post
Well actually to a very good approximation, the world is flat!

Asimov - The Relativity of Wrong

Aha! I knew it!

We like to think in absolutes, but that isn't how things are most of the time.
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Old 06-17-2015, 10:20 AM   #12
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I don't enjoy it when others are wrong, especially when they are discussing my areas of expertise. My INTJ personality itches to correct them. I have trained myself to respond carefully in order to minimize social opprobrium. "Really! I didn't know that! Can you share the reference? I'd like to look at those data." Often, they have no data to share except "well, somebody said it last week" or "I read it in a magazine".

A work colleague once informed me that he knew I was leaving to join X organization. He was way off base. I had fun with that.
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Old 06-17-2015, 10:34 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by user5027 View Post
I was wrong once when I thought I was wrong.
LOL!

I don't like people getting it wrong but hate it when I am wrong. I hate it more when my wife points it out. She's wrong to point them out. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!
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Old 06-17-2015, 11:21 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
Spouses can privately tell each other when one is wrong in private, but NOT in public?
Even in private can be hazardous. These things must be done delicately...

https://youtu.be/HouZ5GHxlpQ?t=64

Quote:
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I don't enjoy it when others are wrong, especially when they are discussing my areas of expertise. My INTJ personality itches to correct them. I have trained myself to respond carefully in order to minimize social opprobrium. "Really! I didn't know that! Can you share the reference? I'd like to look at those data." Often, they have no data to share except "well, somebody said it last week" or "I read it in a magazine". ...
It helps to avoid "trapping someone in a corner" - you want to leave them an out (like you did in your example). I forget this sometimes, but it does help.

I've managed to remember, and say things like "That sounds right, but I heard something contrary to that the other day, maybe the source I heard got it wrong, but what they said was ...".

That way, I think they are drawn in and listening. If you start with a straight contradiction, it seems many people will just shut their minds to the rest of what you say.

I hope to get to practice this in the near future. I had a conversation with someone who was emotionally anti-GMO and used all sorts of lousy and contradictory 'logic' to make her point. If I get the chance, what I plan to do is to turn it around and say something like -
" Hey, I know this stuff concerns you, and I'd like to make a positive suggestion on how you can better influence people to help them see your viewpoint. First, you need to be careful to use solid arguments, use logic that fits the scenario, and use better arguments than 'you must work for Monsanto', as that is an ad hominem attack, and will be seen as a losing statement, and offend anyone on the other side".
Then I plan to outline why the arguments she was using fail - but in a positive way, like "OK, can we find a better argument than your A, B, C, because A has this flaw, B has this other flaw, and C actually applies to standard hybrids, not GMO so it actually works against you", etc.

I think that could be interesting. Of course, while phrasing it all positively, I'll be pointing out the problems in each of her arguments. I doubt she'll be left with anything, and it might have some impact with her.

BTW, I don't mean to turn this thread onto a GMO/GE debate. Those are 'fun', but I don't think the OP wants that intrusion here.

-ERD50
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Old 06-17-2015, 11:41 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
...
2) For those who enjoy when others are wrong, how likely they'd readily admit it? Almost zero chance...
OK, I'll admit that I probably do enjoy it if they were being obnoxious about it.

A while back, someone told me their Uncle makes moonshine. I commented that that was cool, but very illegal. She insisted it was legal, as long as you don't sell it. Now, since I'm a home-brewer, I know a thing or two about the subject, and I know what I know. So I repeated that it is illegal, it is even illegal to own the equipment for distillation, and you need a license, even if you don't sell it. She continued to insist that I was wrong. I just said "Well, I know what I know, it's a fact that you can look up, so I won't discuss it any further".

When they got to a computer, she looked it up and I heard her whisper to her husband "ERD50 was right!", but she wouldn't say it out loud! I don't get that kind of attitude.

But I did get a sort of ironic chuckle out of that one.

-ERD50
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Old 06-17-2015, 12:12 PM   #16
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I am constantly amused by the heated discussions about The Rules of Golf that come up in my Ladies' League. I'm all for proper etiquette, but some of this is like debating how many angels can fit on the head of a pin. It's just a game, people!

USGA: Read the Rules and Decisions
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Old 06-20-2015, 01:04 PM   #17
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I am wrong often enough that I don't press an issue and I can't enjoy it when others are wrong. I am non-confrontational these days as well. I try to learn from others' mistakes and from mine as well. I only feel the need to speak when safety is involved.
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Old 06-21-2015, 01:04 AM   #18
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Ask DW, I'm always wrong and used to it.
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Old 06-21-2015, 09:49 AM   #19
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Of course it feels terrible to find out that you are wrong all along. The more convinced you were, the worse it feels. It helps to keep an open mind and to listen to other arguments.

When I discover that I am wrong, I have found that the best way to deal with it is to openly admit that you are wrong, and to apologize if it involves a heated argument prior to your concession. Both sides feel a lot better afterwards.

I do not enjoy it when others are wrong, even when I am the correct side and successful in convincing them. I would rather that the argument did not occur.

And about discovering that you are wrong, sometimes it does not involve another party at all. I maintain my auto ACs all my life, and recently almost destroyed one car's AC because it does not work like any I have had. When I discovered the difference, I was very upset at myself for ignoring the ominous signs and continuing on the usual path. But this is a story that belongs in the "Your Recent Repair" thread.
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Old 06-21-2015, 12:02 PM   #20
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