[PMC Weekend Edition] Angles and motivated reasoning

Philip Morgan

(Readin' time: 45s)

When figuring out what our clients need/want/aspire to, we need to be on guard against motivated reasoning, or cherry-picking evidence that supports a prior conclusion.

We all kind of know this and nod our heads in agreement.

I found the below, from an article that Bob Lalasz turned me on to, a really interesting perspective on this issue of motivated reasoning:

"Angles are useful. They motivate people to look in a certain place, to search out information that you probably wouldn’t have searched out if you weren’t motivated by the possession of a belief. Angles end up having a lot of value, unless you discount them all."

--Source: m.nautil.us/issue/70/variables/wikipedia-and-the-wisdom-of-polarized-crowds

This seems to run counter to the warning against motivated reasoning, but I think it's not. Rather, I think it's an encouragement to accept your priors for what they are, explore them more deeply, and then be open and unbiased about what the evidence shows you. And be open to changing your mind.

Happy Saturday,


PS - This email was pre-written the day before leaving for the crazy Colorado-with-cats car cruise. I'm hoping I'm in better shape than this:

If I am, maybe I'll share a few photos from the road tomorrow. :)