“Theory-Induced Blindness”

(p. 276) The mystery is how a conception of the utility of outcomes that is vulnerable to . . . obvious counterexamples survived for so long. I can explain (p. 277) it only by a weakness of the scholarly mind that I have often observed in myself. I call it theory-induced blindness: once you have accepted a theory and used it as a tool in your thinking, it is extraordinarily difficult to notice its flaws. If you come upon an observation that does not seem to fit the model, you assume that there must be a perfectly good explanation that you are somehow missing. You give the theory the benefit of the doubt, trusting the community of experts who have accepted it. . . . As the psychologist Daniel Gilbert observed, disbelieving is hard work, and System 2 is easily tired.

Source:
Kahneman, Daniel. Thinking, Fast and Slow. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011.
(Note: ellipses added.)

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