Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Quote of the Day: We are Pattern Seekers

We are pattern seekers, believers in a coherent world, in which regularities appear not by accident but as a result of mechanical causality or of someone’s intention. We do not expect to see regularity produced by a random process, and when we detect what appears to be a rule, we quickly reject the idea that the process is truly random. Random processes produce many sequences that convince people that the process is not random after all. You can see why assuming causality could have evolutionary advantages. It is part of the general vigilance that we have inherited from ancestors.
This is from 2002 Nobel laureate psychologist and professor Daniel Kahneman in his splendid book Thinking, Fast and Slow  p.115

While pattern seeking impulses had been necessary for the survival of our hunter gatherer ancestors, ignoring the role of luck and randomness in today's world extrapolates to perspectives detached from reality.

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